Guest Post: Bruce of Newcastle – Day of Ret (sic)

No its not Sunday and its only a typo because I didn’t use caps.  The Renewable Energy Target requires 20% renewable energy usage in Australia by the year 2020.  Today is notable because four relevant articles appeared on line respectively about Germany, the UK and here.

First here.  The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

Energy affordability complaints hits new high: Ombudsman

Tens of thousands of families across NSW are being crippled by high energy prices, with mounting arrears, credit listings and disconnections, the Energy and Water Ombudsman says.  The Ombudsman received a record 37,485 complaints in 2013-14, its annual report being released on Thursday shows, with half relating to billing and a quarter relating to affordability.

“There’s been an increase in the number of people struggling and it’s very much to do with the higher prices for what is an essential service. People don’t have a choice,” Ombudsman Clare Petre said. “There’s lots of pressure on low-income households, people with fixed incomes, people who have very little financial flexibility.” Ms Petre said complaints surged, despite the levelling off of price hikes in July last year. The “long tails” of the huge hikes – largely driven by over-spending on poles and wires and, to a lesser extent, the carbon tax – in the previous four years were still having an impact on consumers.

Ah the old poles and wires.  You would think that RET would get a mention since most of the poles and wires spend has been to accommodate rooftop solar panels and wind turbines.  If they didn’t spend that capital suburban street grids could see damage caused due to overvoltage.  Coping with intermittent wind energy would also be made much more difficult, since interconnector capacity would be strained.

Ok, RET has caused massive spending on grid infrastructure here in Oz.  And big electricity price rises.  What about Germany and the UK then?

Well the story in the UK today is actually about Germany, but I’ll take the opportunity to hark back a few days to two other stories I saw:

Vince Cable admits green taxes are damaging British businesses

He said that British firms are “struggling” to compete with their international rivals on price, which is leading to work going abroad. He said that as a result Britain is effectively “exporting pollution” to other countries.

Scotland power shortage warning as coal plant faces closure

The company’s Longannet power station provides electricity for 2m homes and plays a crucial role in balancing electricity supply and demand to prevent shortages in Scotland. But rising green taxes and high network charges set by regulator Ofgem could make it unprofitable by winter 2016-17 and could force its closure, ScottishPower warned on Friday. If the plant is shut and no replacement built Scottish consumers will be at risk of interrupted electricity supplies, Neil Clitheroe, head of its retail and generation business, told the Telegraph. … Unlike wind farms and nuclear plants, electricity output from these fossil fuel-fired power stations can be adjusted at short notice to manage voltage and frequency.

So yes, the UK’s version of RET is making industry uncompetitive, causing high green taxes and high network charges to subsidise renewables, and due to insufficient back up base load capacity is possibly leading to blackouts.  And not in 2016-17 either, this coming winter too.

I said today’s article in the UK was about Germany.  It is, and its a doozy:

France is doing badly, but German energy sector is a disaster – EDF

Henri Proglio, EDF chief executive, acknowledged his country was “in a poor situation” and “under pressure”. But he said different industries should be considered in their own right, highlighting the German energy sector, where the country’s phase-out of nuclear power and drive for renewables has severely damaged its two biggest companies.

“When it comes to energy they are in a disaster. Their two major companies – E.On and RWE – are under huge pressure. One is more or less dead, the other one is in a very difficult situation,” he said.

Because of the German version of RET, which is known as energiewende, their two biggest power companies are close to bankruptcy?  Is there anything worse?  Yes, still from today two more articles:

The FT Lashes Out at Germany’s Energiewende

Germany will end up opening nine coal power plants between 2010 and 2015. Last year, its electricity production from brown coal rose to its highest level since 1990.

German Federal Analysis Sees “Massive Threats To Security And Reliability Of Electric Power Supply System”

The 102-page highly technical assessment examines a variety of scenarios in order to see how well Germany’s electrical power grid will hold up this winter. Looking at the report’s conclusion, one can only conclude that the power grid is more unstable and prone to a collapse than at any time in Germany’s post-war period. It’s a debacle knocking at the door.

So not only has energiewende now caused coal usage to go up despite its intention to save on CO2 emissions, but Germany too is under threat of grid instability and blackouts from all the solar panels and wind turbines they have installed.

And most of those articles are from one day – today: Thursday 9 Oct 2014.

Can someone please explain to me why we still have RET when it threatens the collapse of our whole energy sector?  Please, Mr Abbott, get rid of this giant toxic albatross!

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28 Responses to Guest Post: Bruce of Newcastle – Day of Ret (sic)

  1. Stevos

    most of the poles and wires spend has been to accommodate rooftop solar panels and wind turbines.

    No, most of the poles and wires spend has been due to dodgy demand forecasting which is now the subject of a Senate inquiry (thank Christine Milne) after an Energex whistleblower spilt the beans vis-a-vis fraud/corruption.

    So let’s put this in perspective:

    – Power bill rises in last 5 years due to RET – around 4%
    – Power bill rises in last 5 years due to fraudelent modelling – better part of 50%

    And that’s how you write a worthless piece of ideological garbage, Bruce-style.

  2. Stevos

    *fraudulent, since I’m sure someone will nitpick at that in lieu of a substantive response.

  3. stevem

    Germany is very concerned about March 29 next year. Not only is their whole power grid a little dubious, but when the eclipse starts, their power supply will suddenly lose up to 23GW only to have it suddenly restored as the eclipse ends!
    Link to industry article

  4. mizaris

    So it’s working then. The greenies are succeeding in taking us all back to the stone age. “No phone, no light, no motor car, not a single luxury…” (apologies to Gilligan), and not a single essential either. This will put the evil west on a level footing with the stone age muzzies. Maybe then everyone will be happy???? hmmm…think not.

  5. Tiddly Pom

    Stevos

    The Australian Energy Regulator which is responsible for scrutinising price rises has denied this claim of manipulation, and the Senate Inquiry has not even started let alone reported.

    But you are convinced that an unsupported claim by a disgruntled ex-employee is nonetheless 100% accurate.

    And then have the temerity to say that it is those on the other side of your argument who are ideologically motivated.

    But who needs evidence when they know their heart is pure, eh?

  6. Ant

    Tens of thousands of families across NSW are being crippled by high energy prices…

    Tell us again how the Left is for the little people.

    They’re not for the little people, big people, fat, thin, black, olive, white, whatever.

    They’re about themselves and power and their MO is to find the path of least resistance towards fulfilling their own stinking agenda at whatever cost to the rest of us.

    For me, those who embarked on imposing the RET using the stupid AGW argument on the Australian population should be rounded up, tried and jailed for rackateering and fraud.

  7. Rabz

    For me, those who embarked on imposing the RET using the stupid AGW argument on the Australian population should be rounded up, tried and jailed for rackateering and fraud.

    John Howard, come on down!

  8. maurie

    stevos, no body need pick at your story, because anything the sleazy greens discuss (other than retention of their few friend’s power stations) is always thought up on the spot.
    If you take a peek historically at utility sales in Australia, either they were purchased by unions & naturally required periodic subsidizing or were genuinely privatized (without unions) & so actually were able to show a profit at reduced costs

  9. cohenite

    Just imagine, if they had invested all the money invested in renewables into Zero Point Energy and the Casimir Effect we’d be sailing to the stars by now.

    It’s a pity black holes have been disinvented as they were a great potential source of energy for ZPE.

  10. Peter from SA

    Interesting piece on Ebola on ABC24 just now.

    Firstly they had the Qld Health woman saying only those with symptoms could transmit the disease. She was very definite about that. So nothing to worry about, with people being on planes from West Africa etc.

    Then they had a Professor of Infectious Diseases, from NSW, being somewhat critical of this “dogma”, as she referred to it. She pointed out that health workers are taking full precautions in West Africa, but are still catching the disease … so there might be more to it?

  11. Bruce of Newcastle

    Stevos – This article goes into the reasons why poles and wires spend has been so high with rooftop solar PV:

    Rapid increase in solar installations potentially overloading the grid

    The claim of overloading, as made in The Australian newspaper, is not without substance. There is the possibility, as indicated earlier, that a local distribution transformer is back-fed. In other words there is aggregate power flow toward the grid. In an identical manner to that applying to the consumers and their aggregate solar generation capacity neighbouring transformers that are part of the MV feeder can absorb the excess power. Undoubtedly this is a complicated situation, and generally power distribution companies do not want reverse power flow as it can contribute to network instability. One of the problems that crops up is that of setting tap changers on MV distribution transformers to compensate for line voltage drops by boosting voltage. With the injection of solar-derived power, intolerable voltage rise in the MV network is then encountered.

    In short, if you read the whole (rather technical) article, and read other similar reports, many of the transformers at street level were incapable of running backwards. Voltages could and were increasing in some areas above the Australian Standard for power supply (260 V max – IIRC).

    I once counted the new transformers in my area with 100m of my house, mounted up power poles. There are six of them. They are enormous, brand new, galvanized and ugly. They must cost a fortune each. Ausgrid (I presume) replaced the old ones in my suburb. Multiply those six by all the urban areas in Australia and you can see where the spend has had to go.

  12. Peter from SA

    sorry wrong thread!

  13. Zippy The Younger

    Privatising monopolies is a catastrophe. Pure and simple. You need to convert the monopoly into a real market first not just a bunch of “competing” resellers of the same commodity. If that means having duplicate and triplicate infrastructure than so be it, works out cheaper in the long run than getting screwed by a private central monopoly and some government regulator keeping them honest. A joke.

    Electricity is a great example of a big fat fail.

  14. cohenite

    Grid overload and surge effects from solar panels has been around for some time.

    The renewable scam in its own way has been as financially devastating as the primary scam of AGW. I can imagine in a situation outside a grid, on a distant property some renewable would be a good backup to some generators but the notion that renewables could ever power a grid has been a grotesque lie from day one.

  15. Empire

    In short, if you read the whole (rather technical) article, and read other similar reports, many of the transformers at street level were incapable of running backwards. Voltages could and were increasing in some areas above the Australian Standard for power supply (260 V max – IIRC).

    Bruce – the old boy, a retired electrical engineer, confirmed as much for me some time ago.

    As for the cost of the transformers, they aren’t cheap, but relatively cheaper than they used to be. The major players got pinged for collusion about 10 years back.

  16. Mk50 of Brisbane, Henchman to the VRWC

    Good post, Bruce.

    I see it’s attracting a few greenfilth cli-fi holy rollers like stevos, preaching that ole-time religion!

  17. incoherent rambler

    Can someone please explain to me why we still have RET when it threatens the collapse of our whole energy sector?

    No.

    But a wild guess. Tony the terrible is a slave to green media?

  18. Myrrdin Seren

    Can someone please explain to me why we still have RET when it threatens the collapse of our whole energy sector?

    The average member of the Political Class seems to be utterly clueless about how the real world works.

    ( Given the number of sitting NSW State Liberal members pinged by ICAC for nickel-and-dime election funding breaches, while Eddie Obeid cruises around town likely never to be charged, I would suggest a lot of the Political Class are crap at politics too ).

    Members of the Political Class who have some real world knowledge are, by-and-large, pariahs within their own calling ( see Bernardi C. )

    The impartial members of the public service supporting the decision makers seem to be, by-and-large, active Get-up and Greens supporters, relishing the dismemberment of the Australian economy and eagerly looking forward to the Venezualisation of the Australian political economy.

    Large slabs of the Media Class are products of the Wendy Bacon/ Margaret Simons school of journalistic thought – and are also keen to see Australia go down the Venezuela path.

    I had always hoped Britain would destroy its energy sector and economy first, as a wake-up call to the rest of the world.

    I remain afraid that, as in so many other fads, Australia wants to lead the world off the cliff first.

  19. Pete of Perth

    In my suburb several roofs are covered with solar panels amongst the usual smaller installations. I naughtily hope for a hail storm similar to the one on Mar 22nd 2010. Footage.

  20. Pete of Perth

    Tough I suspect solar panels are built to resist such impacts.

  21. jupes

    (thank Christine Milne)

    LOL.

    Good one Stevos.

  22. Tel

    Ok, RET has caused massive spending on grid infrastructure here in Oz. And big electricity price rises. What about Germany and the UK then?

    That’s probably true, but from a consumer’s point of view, irrelevant. The electricity distributors are in a monopoly position and therefore charge what the market will bear regardless of the cost of delivery. They simple increase prices until their revenue is maximum and that’s end of story. After they maximise the revenue they look at possible spending which is totally decoupled.

    – Power bill rises in last 5 years due to RET – around 4%
    – Power bill rises in last 5 years due to fraudelent modelling – better part of 50%

    You don’t think that independent electricity price analysis is actually independent of anything do you?

    Economics determines the price, then we have a whole bunch of independent studies that we make sure can find a way to work back from the desired answer to give some sort of justification. Ask a climate modeller how they do the job.

  23. Blogstrop

    Thanks Bruce, good input as usual.
    This is why the West is going down the gurgler.
    We have been suckered by the duplicitous green-left into all manner of PC crap. Labor went along with it, although some made a few murmurs of dissent along the way.
    It would take an entire guest post to describe all the stuff-ups that have accrued due to the big climate scam alone, without even touching on immigration or the human rights industry.
    The political form of Ebola is slower, but it is called Political Correctness. The accelerants are recycled communists in the green suits, and media activists who are like student pollies who never grew up. Unfortunately they’re running quite a bit of our media output. They,re certainly not holding the destructive idiocies to account.

  24. Blogstrop

    The Germans are a surprise. They are usually pragmatic about basics, but look like they too have caught the political ebola.

  25. egg_

    The 102-page highly technical assessment examines a variety of scenarios in order to see how well Germany’s electrical power grid will hold up this winter. Looking at the report’s conclusion, one can only conclude that the power grid is more unstable and prone to a collapse than at any time in Germany’s post-war period. It’s a debacle knocking at the door.

    From previous, the ludicrous spectre of frozen wind turbines amidst the North Atlantic Winter.

  26. buckshot

    Thanks for the post BoN.

    In the spirit of Stevos, and to be truly thankful to Christine Milne, I think the Greens and Labor should hold a Senate enquiry into the dodgy drought forecasting around a decade ago that led to the spending of about $8 billion here in SE Queensland on ‘silver-plated salt water converters’ and ‘platinum-plated poo recyclers’. Maybe they’d learn something and give their ‘gold-plated’ ignorance an overhaul.

    The so-called dodgy forecasting that led to the overbuild of electricity network capacity was based on an extrapolation of demand increases that had been occurring for around 20 years. What caught them out was a combination of factors that had not been seen before – rapid take-up of solar PV due to high feed-in tariffs, an unexpectedly high price-elasticity with electricity demand, and a reduction in demand from industry.

    On the other hand, the drought forecasting was by people predicting something that had never happened before i.e. the drought would never end, and was the new normal. Roll-on the Senate enquiry into our ‘gold-plated water network’.

  27. egg_

    the Greens and Labor should hold a Senate enquiry into the dodgy drought forecasting around a decade ago

    Aunty’s currently embracing the seasonally fashionable dodgy AGW-bushfire forecasting: happy to see an Enquiry e.g. near loss of Century-old Mt Stromlo Observatory from fuel build-up due to Greens policy.

  28. buckshot

    We’re on o roll Egg 🙂

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