Self-Inflicted Energy Insecurity: Vlad Impales Wind & Solar Obsessed Europe

Like a giant boa constrictor, oil and gas-rich Vlad Putin has a chokehold on wind and solar-obsessed Europe.

‘Green’ policies designed to wipe out reliable and affordable coal and nuclear power plants – on the pretext that they would be replaced by the chaotic output from wind turbines and solar panels – have long been exposed as delusional nonsense.

In reality, to the extent that they are being replaced (or, more accurately, momentarily displaced), reliable coal and nuclear generators are being sidelined by expensive to run and inefficient fast-start up open cycle gas turbines (fuelled by gas or oil) and giant diesel generators, run on diesel or bunker fuel – their piston engines are the same as used in oceangoing ships.

And guess who holds the lion’s share of the oil and gas that fires northern Europe’s gas and diesel generators?

That would, of course, be Vlad. The lad currently wreaking havoc across Ukraine.

Well, as Robert Louis Stevenson put it, ‘Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.’

Those consequences include a date with a harsh reality: unreliable wind and solar do not and will never amount to meaningful power sources.

The invasion of Ukraine and the fallout thereof has brought a number of rude and uncomfortable truths to bear.

Not least the fact that reliable and affordable electricity is critical to a nation’s economic prosperity and the lives and livelihoods of its citizens; that energy-starved countries are no match for their energy-rich competitors; and that the only inevitable thing about so-called renewable energy transition is that nations lose their energy independence and become playthings for the odd, energy-rich dictator.

With Putin on the march, Germany’s plans to shut down its coal-fired and nuclear power plants look even more ludicrous – as such a move would leave it even more reliant upon Russian oil and gas, than it already is.

So serious is the situation that even Germany’s ‘Greens’ are having a good hard think about killing off coal-fired and nuclear power generation (at least, for now).

All that talk about Germany soon being powered by nothing other than wind and solar turns out to be just that. What a difference a bloody and brutal invasion can make.

As Daniel Wild details below, events in Western Europe provide a case study on how not to remain peaceful and prosperous. In short, kill your energy independence with unreliables and watch your enemies quickly profit from your folly.

Home-grown power is a national security imperative
The Australian
Daniel Wild
4 March 2022

The horrifying conflict in Ukraine and the geopolitical ramifications it has exposed mean Australia must immediately reassess how it secures its place in the world.

First and foremost, Australia has no choice but to remove the green-coloured wool from its eyes and face the fact that energy security is national security.

The war in Ukraine has brutally sheeted this reality home to Germany. After decades of blithely relying on Russian energy while its leaders spouted platitudes about the green new world, the war has exposed its stunning lack of energy security.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told colleagues in an emergency sitting of the Bundestag following the invasion of Ukraine that his country must diversify away from Russian gas supply, which accounts for half of its energy needs, stating it is “decisive for our security”. Scholz went on to say: “We must change course to overcome our dependence on imports from individual energy suppliers.”

German Economic Affairs and Climate Action Minister Robert Habeck, a Greens Party MP, also has stated that no option is off the table, including staving off the country’s looming energy security crisis by keeping nuclear and coal-fired power stations open far longer than originally proposed under the country’s environment policies. Contrast that with the Australian Greens, whose policy it is to ban all new coal, gas and oil projects.

Germany may be the first Western power, but it certainly will not be the last, to face this dil­emma – and Australia is not immune. The recent announce­ment that the closing date of the Eraring power station in the Hunter Valley in NSW will be dramatically brought forward is an example that we have yet to learn from Germany’s situation.

Institute for Public Affairs research shows that Eraring, despite producing 20 per cent of NSW’s electricity supply, accounts for less than 0.04 per cent of total global emissions.

This means any possible environmental dividend from Eraring’s closure is merely symbolic – and, as any Ukrainian will tell you today, symbolism is cold comfort when faced with an existential military threat.

Worse, there is no credible plan for how to make up the shortfall in energy generation.

Danny Price, the founder and managing director of consulting firm Frontier Economics, was quoted recently as saying: “We’re told all the time that renewables are the cheapest form of power, and we could get prices down with more renewables – that’s not happening anywhere.”

Price went on to argue that “batteries play a real role in the national electricity market, but even if we have many more batteries we’re not going to get what we need” because “you’ll have energy but not for a long period of time, and it’s very expensive”.

It should go without saying, but expensive energy that doesn’t last long is not a recipe to give Australians comfort at a time of heightened uncertainty in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

However, Germany’s fate is not (yet) Australia’s. We are blessed with a bounty of natural resources, including more than 2000 years’ worth of coal and about 30 per cent of the world’s known uranium deposits. We have more than enough of our own domestic energy supplies to power industry for decades and to develop our own sovereign manufacturing capability.

Australia, in other words, doesn’t need to do a U-turn yet. But we do need to follow the first rule of holes: when you are in one, stop digging.

The policy of net-zero emissions by 2050 is fast making coal unviable, and the legislative ban on nuclear power in Australia remains uncontested among the political class.

Closing coal-fired power makes Australia more vulnerable to an increasingly hostile and aggressive China, which is constructing 92 new coal-fired power stations while we are shutting down ours. Meanwhile, 80 per cent of the solar panels Australia imports are made in China.

Without reliable, affordable baseload power generation capability, Australia will have no sovereign capability to manufacture the vital goods we need to operate and defend ourselves as an advanced, First World nation.

The policies adopted under the guise of the target for net-zero emissions by 2050, now pursued by all major political parties, represent an existential threat to Australia’s national security in a rapidly changing world.

Through brutal measures, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s self-styled emperor, has shown the West has no clothes when it comes to energy security.
The Australian

4 thoughts on “Self-Inflicted Energy Insecurity: Vlad Impales Wind & Solar Obsessed Europe

  1. Poetic Justice
    The incompetence on display for years from delusional “ECO Nutters” around the world is coming home to roost.
    Oil and gas will be around for quite some time to come, it’s not going anywhere. The climate change nonsense needs to be put down for good and for humanity to move on. The environment of the planet can only be improved if billions of people are raised out of poverty and not wondering where their next meal is coming from..

  2. Energy, which belongs to engineering technology, should not and cannot be expressed by “green” and “renewable”

    1. Is that the same as ‘act in haste, repent at leisure’. Guess so….the banquet one is superior though I feel.

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