Sweating It: Renewable Energy Crisis Means Australians Can’t Run Air-Conditioners During Heatwaves

Wind & solar ‘powered’ South Australians pioneered sweating in the dark.


Once upon a time Australians enjoyed reliable and affordable power, but that was before heavily subsidised and chaotically intermittent wind and solar entered the scene.

Over the last few summers, Australians have been treated to power rationing and load shedding, as well as the odd mass blackout. These events have an uncanny correlation with dead calm days/nights and sunset that coincides with bursts of warm weather and rising mercury.

Summer heatwaves are part and parcel of Australian life.

Over the last four or five decades, though, an increasing number of Australians have enjoyed the benefit of reverse cycle air-conditioning, warming homes in winter and taking the ferocity out of their often-blistering summers.

Now Australians are being told to turn off their air conditioners and/or to leave home and go back to work in order to keep the grid from a total ‘system black’.

The team from Jo Nova detail the depth of the debacle below.

Thanks to wind and solar power, Australians have to drive to work to save the planet
Jo Nova Blog
Jo Nova
21 September 2020

Australians used to have an electricity grid that gave them the freedom to work from home.

For years they told us to work at home to help the environment.  But thanks to a decentralized unreliable grid, Australians are now being warned that it will be a “disaster” for the grid if they stay home and work with their air conditioner on in summer.

Now we better drive to work so the solar-windy-grid doesn’t fall over:

Why working from home could be a disaster for Australia’s electricity grid this summer
Emma Elsworthy, ABC

Air conditioners could send Australia’s power grid into meltdown this summer, as roughly one third of the workforce do their jobs from home, experts have warned.

According to research company Roy Morgan, more than 4.3 million Australians are working from home…

But warmer weather has come with a warning that increased use of air-conditioning in homes could lead to more blackouts and higher electricity bills.

“Air-conditioning is what drives our maximum demand in Australia,” said Peter Dobney, the former founding chairman of the Energy Users Association of Australia.

“We can expect higher prices, in fact, I think that’s a certainty.”

After installing solar panels on one in four houses we apparently don’t want people to stay home and use them to power their air conditioners. Instead we want them to get into their cars and drive in to large office blocks which we can still afford to keep cool.

Nearly 70% of Australians drive to work, and 30% spend almost an hour getting there. The freedom to spend nearly two hours a day not sitting in traffic is surprisingly popular. But now, just as people discover how good that can be, comes the bad news that our electricity grid doesn’t offer the freedom to turn on your air conditioner whenever you like anymore. The hours spent stuck in cars is just another kind of renewable tax.

No one saw this coming
Who would have thought that an electricity grid which is designed to make the weather nicer in 2100 would not work as well as an electricity grid designed to make cheap electricity now? Where were the university academics who were paid fat cheques to forecast our renewables future?

The grand irony is that as our power becomes less centralized and less efficient, our offices have to be more efficient. Thus decentralized power means centralized lives. Just another price of saving the Earth.

Evil coal fired power gives us freedom, but who wants that?

It’s 118 years since the first air conditioner was invented. They save 20,000 lives each year in the USA, and probably 2,000 a year in hot Australia. If only we could still afford to run them. If global warming is really going to happen,  cheap air conditioning and electricity would be even more important than ever. Do old lives matter?
Jo Nova Blog

6 thoughts on “Sweating It: Renewable Energy Crisis Means Australians Can’t Run Air-Conditioners During Heatwaves

  1. There is No Excuse for these Damned things, even although fossil carbon dioxide is a bigger menace than Al Gore realises.

    By far the densest energy-per-gram of fuel comes from long-ago stars much greater than our middle-class sun. Fossil carbon is merely dead stuff from Terran catastrophes a few hundred million years ago. It is stored solar energy, like the oxygen we burn with it.
    I write this because people do not appreciate the wonder of nuclear fission energy.
    But the catastrophic deaths of supernova-class stars concentrated the gravitational energy of a star too massive to hold itself up, when it ran out of fusible fuel, and packed the kind of energy of a meteor the size of that star, crashing into the centre of that same mass’s gravity, so hard that even the mutual repulsion of the nuclear protons could not resist the gravitational forces. Some of the products of the resulting chaos have been flung across the galaxy, and collected by the primeval stage of our own planet.
    The result is that one kilo of fissile nuclei packs as much energy as millions of kilos of any chemical reactants, whether TNT or coal and oxygen, or the carbon tetrahydride that is flatteringly called “natural” gas.
    We actually know quite well how to make use if the stuff far more safely and cleanly that any fossil fuel. Russia has two reactors that can even consume the slightly used nuclear fuel that we call “waste”. The USA developed a better one, but Clinton threw it away. ORNL had an even better one, Molten Salt, and that one Nixon threw away.

  2. Dear STT, I am a regular reader of your site. Our community has just had a fantastic victory against Synergy Wind who were trying to establish 34 x 200 metre high turbines in our farming community. A permit was granted which we challenged in VCAT and today we were advised that the permit has been denied on jurisdictional grounds. This is a real win for us and we are elated. Would STT like a report on our story? Kind regards, Andy Macmeikan. Alberton, Victoria.

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. Yes, post a link or write your story in a reply to this and we will craft a post. If there’s VCAT decision on its website, send us that link and any media articles. Thanks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s