You really did have to laugh at how the entirely left panel on Insiders (how is possible that Andrew Probyn is now on the ABC aka taxpayer payroll – is this some kind of joke?) stumbled their way through the explanation of the load shedding that occurred in South Australia last week. (According to shadow minister, Mark Butler, just a “hiccup”.)
If you read the Guardian, Fairfax or listened to the ABC in the past few days, all their commentators were praying for load shedding to occur in Sydney so they could all go – “See, nothing to do with renewables”. Sadly, for them, load shedding was avoided so that argument is dead for the moment.
You did have to laugh when LaTingle immediately lept to the point that it had nothing to do with renewables but then had to backtrack – well, it is complicated (a point made by fellow green traveller, Lenore Taylor, who laughably thinks she is quite the expert on this stuff.)
And what about the suggestion that it was all AEMO’s fault because it didn’t switch on the gas power plant at Pelican Point? Excuse me, AEMO doesn’t run electricity generation and PP didn’t bid in because it couldn’t supply (an entirely sensible rule). And it is not just a matter of switching it on – it takes several hours and there needs to be feeder stock as well.
But the answer of the panel was clear: the supply was not forthcoming because they could make heaps of money by not supplying but pushing up the price. You know it makes sense – PP didn’t bid because it couldn’t supply, but the price was bid up and the plant made money by not supplying. That must be the entire explanation.
And here’s a point that the greenies fed Barrie: there have been more peaks in wholesale electricity prices in Queensland than SA this year – therefore nothing to do with renewables. Of course, this is just spin.
The peaks generally last a very short time and the key is average electricity prices. Here are the figures for 2017:
South Australia $105.05/MWh
Now if you think last week was bad, just wait until next summer when Hazelwood is shut down taking 20 per cent of baseload from Victoria. In this case, the interconnector won’t be much good for South Australia because there will be no power to export from Victoria.
And to think that the SA government still thinks another interconnector to NSW (many hundreds of millions of dollars and several years away) is part of the solution. Hilarious.
The SA government is about to add another major distortion to the market by awarding a monopoly contract to an energy supplier, most probably gas, for which a generous long term take-or-pay arrangement will apply for all the electricity used by the public sector. I’m presuming this includes hospitals, schools, universities, goals, etc. as well as the public sector.
But here’s the bit I really like: by awarding a monopoly contract to this entity, there will be more competition in the market. You know this makes sense too.
That it is likely to flout the rules of the AEMO as well as COAG agreements seems neither here nor there to a desperate SA government.
Mind you, demand management is unlikely to be an issue in that state as the last big industrial factories close down – and soon.
Tom Quirk has a very good commentary in Quadrant online.