Renewables Reckoning: Closing Australia’s Coal-Fired Power Plants Guarantees Grid Collapse

Thanks to an obsessional reliance on wind and solar, Australia’s power grid has all the structural integrity of a house of cards. Based on the delusion that weather-dependent wind and weather and sunshine-dependent solar can actually replace coal-fired power, Australia’s energy policy is deliberately designed to wipe out coal-fired power plants, once and for all.

The threatened closure of yet another coal-fired plant – Liddell in NSW – brings the imminent total collapse of Australia’s Eastern Grid one card closer. The Eastern Grid connects Queensland New South Wales, the ACT, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

As Eric Worrall explains below, whether the house collapses sooner, rather than later, depends upon what the lunatics in charge of Australian energy policy, do next.

Green Energy Crunch Time: Aussie Liddell Coal Plant Closes This Month
Watts Up With That?
Eric Worrall
10 April 2023

Last winter, during a low wind deep freeze, the Aussie East Cost suffered blackouts and energy shortages. This year they’ll face the same – with 1200MW less capacity.

Labor’s electric storm: Liddell closure a ‘serious’ challenge
A perfect storm of delayed energy projects and the closure of the country’s oldest plant in 18 days has presented a “massive” future supply problem which even the state’s new Energy Minister says she is concerned about.

The closure of the Hunter Valley’s Liddell coal-fired power station on April 28 will remove 1200MW of electricity from the grid, with Energy Minister Penny Sharpe declaring “NSW is facing serious energy challenges in coming years”.

Ms Sharpe says that “trying to keep prices as low as possible” was a priority for the new Minns government and she would “keep all options on the table when it comes to keeping the lights on, including keeping base load operating to meet demand”. …

Read more (paywalled):Daily Telegraph

I suspect the minister will order Liddell to remain open, but there is a real chance ordering the plant to remain open won’t achieve much. Liddell has been run into the ground, it could suffer a major mechanical failure at any moment. It might not even be operational by the official closing date of April 28th.

A Labor government ordering workers to commit to a suicide mission, to continue operating such a plant could also be seen as a serious betrayal of the working class constituency they are meant to represent. When such plants die, they often die spectacularly, with large explosions and fires. Continued operation of such a decrepit plant could put workers’ lives at risk.

But not operating the plant might also have disastrous consequences. Early indications are this winter could be very cold. Snow has been dusting the Australian Alps this year since February, which is normally our hottest summer month. When bitterly cold winter weather systems thrust up from the Antarctic Ocean, temperatures plummet, and even subtropical coastal regions of Australia can experience night time temperatures below freezing.

All I can say is thank goodness we’ve got lots of wind and solar energy, they’ll really help us out if we encounter another prolonged overcast wind drought, like last winter.
Watts Up With That?

Lunatics determined to pull another card from a crumbling house.

4 thoughts on “Renewables Reckoning: Closing Australia’s Coal-Fired Power Plants Guarantees Grid Collapse

  1. Bring it on!
    Until the public faces the reality of relying on the wind and solar fantasy nothing will change.
    Blackouts are inevitable with the unreliables transition.
    The sooner they happen the sooner the public outcry will force the government to face reality.

  2. Texas in 2019 gave us a glimpse of the abyss during a spell of low wind and a serious cold snap. Hundreds died and it would have been thousands if the state had gone completely black, instead of hanging on by a thread.
    Now Texas is planning to subsidise gas producers to maintain capacity in the face of competition from subsidised wind and solar power.

    Don’t laugh, this is happening here already with a deal in Victoria to maintain the supply of coal power from Loy Yang to the Portland aluminium smelter owned by AGL. And both the major parties in NSW promised before the recent election to keep the coal fires burning at Eraring.

      1. Thanks Jeff, you are correct, never apologise for checking facts! I wrote 2021 at first and then re- read the story about the proposed legislation which cited an episode in 2019. The years are going so quickly these days I decided my memory was playing tricks and I didn’t check to be sure. Wik tries to take the blame off RE.,leading%20to%20shortages%20of%20water%2C%20food%2C%20and%20heat.

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