$190 carbon tax needed to meet Paris Agreement

The Finkel inquiry into the energy future got off to a bad start with its preliminary report erroneously claiming all this wind and solar we are seeing is being driven by technology and consumer demand when it is clearly a function of government regulations requiring consumers to buy exotic renewable energy at three to four times the cost of the coal fuelled supply it is replacing.

There are now scores of submissions to the inquiry that with few exceptions including that from the Australian Environment Foundation advocate even more subsidies while often claiming, as they have for thirty years, that renewables will soon be cheaper than fossil fuels. None of these advocates put their money where their mouths are and call for a dismantling of the subsidies that constitute the on-going foundation of their business viability.

The subsidy-seekers’ mouthpiece, Reneweconomy, constantly searches for Alice in Wonderland stories about how their clients are prevailing and finding new converts for the cause. The latest is the former head of Hazelwood who now says that batteries and solar are cheaper, but again not calling for the elimination of the ‘now unnecessary’ subsidies. And, of course, the aforementioned former head of Hazelwood now speaks for a renewable business he heads.

Some new insights into the costs of all this are offered by a new study undertaken by the renewable urgers at the International Energy Agency. While promoting its favoured renewable solution the IEA tells us that to meet the Paris Agreement on greenhouse gas emission reductions the carbon price that the developed world will have to impose is US$190 per tonne. In addition the IEA goals require regulatory measures, which it describes as, “broader and deeper global efforts on technology collaboration to facilitate low-carbon technology development and deployment”. The IEA says this “may” increase economic growth, presumably by reducing living standards to fund the higher capital requirements.
Fantasies aside, the IEA blueprint means 3-6 fold increase in the wholesale electricity cost as well as all those reliability problems that Elon Musk and other regulatory tax gatherers can’t seem to fix.

Australia has committed to the Paris Agreement in spite of Trump torpedoing it and we are persisting with the increase in renewable requirements that are driving up our prices and driving down reliability. We may have to see a catastrophe before we see genuine reform. This is especially the case as the propaganda has convinced so many people of the merits of renewable energy. Indeed this week’s Essential Report has a claim that the majority of respondents seemingly supporting the South Australian government approaches.

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32 Responses to $190 carbon tax needed to meet Paris Agreement

  1. King Koala

    If the government was serious about renewables they would be pushing for a more decentralised energy grid and encouraging people and towns to produce as much of their own energy instead. If every house had solar on the roof it would make a lot more sense than massive solar farms destroying good agricultural land. The reason the government is against decentralisation is that it encourages self sufficiency and does not require big infrastructure projects that line the pockets of politician’s friends.

  2. herodotus

    Green jobs will all be something like boom-gate operators at National Parks or Green Police coming around to your place to do a spot audit on how you run the home, what energy sources you use, how you dispose of garbage, and what colours of water you recycle. That list could go on ad infinitum.

  3. Bruce of Newcastle

    Under the Paris Agreement the Chinese don’t even start to reign in CO2 emissions until 2030, by which time they’ll be about triple today. And about six times bigger than any other country.

    Why are we doing this self harm to ourselves for no benefit whatsoever, even if you believe in dangerous global warming?

    Which I demonstrated on the open thread last night isn’t happening and cannot happen.

  4. Leo G

    If every house had solar on the roof it would make a lot more sense than massive solar farms destroying good agricultural land.

    A 240 volt single phase East Australian electricity grid- what a novel idea.

  5. stackja

    Green agitprop convinced the gullible.

  6. Diogenes

    The stupid – it buuuuuurns

  7. Bruce

    Leo G:

    Most places run 3-phase down the street and simply run single-phase out to the houses A B, C, A, B, C, etc.

    The actual GRID(s), however run at somewhat higher voltages; 11,000 V and upwards, depending on where you are in the “food-chain”.

    The wooden poles outside my house carry 11KV on the top three cables. Transmission is done in ‘Delta’ configuration in these three wires.. At various locations around the suburbs, local transformers step this down to “415V”, Three Phase, in “Star’ configuration. These are three of the lower four wires on your pole. The fourth wire is the “Neutral” / “return”. This is what is wired into domestic premises in sequence, (“A”+ Neutral, “B” + Neutral, etc.), i.e., a single-phase feed to each house, and distributed, in sequence down the street, as A. B, C etc.

    Solar panel farms on domestic premises roofs are a potential nightmare for several reasons:
    1. Maintenance. Despite what the spivs tell you, the panels MUST be kept clean and must be monitored for corrosion of the panel frames AND the supporting “works.
    2. A reasonable array may well be pushing 900V DC off the roof into your inverter system. You neither want a fire or a flood to affect your house. in the event of a fire, if the blokes in the big red trucks cannot shut-down the panel output, they will be less than keen to be holding a big, wet hose whilst using it to spray water on your roof. SOME crews carry big tarps for this, bur being craned over a burning house to try to drop a big, wet tarp over a bunch of solar panels might be a big ask. If your house catches fire after dark, no problem.
    3. In a flood situation, like the one that inundated a big chunk of the Locker Valley a while ago, a few hundred volts DC off the (un-flooded) roof into water that has submerged your charger, battery banks and inverter will do nasty things to your nice, steel-framed shed; electrolytic erosion.

    There are ways around SOME of these issues, all of which require actual thought, as opposed to marketing hype from the solar suppliers AND political show-boating from the government. Ain’t gonna happen.

  8. Roger

    Indeed this week’s Essential Report has a claim that the majority of respondents seemingly supporting the South Australian government approaches.

    Poll them again after next summer.

  9. duncanm

    I support SA 100% — as long as they’re disconnected from the other states.

    We need an example set. They’ll be our Venezuela.

  10. duncanm

    Love that essential (push) poll. There’s a ‘too close to Corporates’ question, but not a ‘too close to Unions’ one.

  11. Mark M

    If the government and Finkel were serious they would consider a tax on butterflies flapping their wings.
    Less flapping = better climate.

  12. OneWorldGovernment

    duncanm,

    I can’t wait until all coal fired power stations are shut down.

  13. Rafe Champion

    Great stats from Jo Nova on the power produced at Hazelwood compared with all the wind farms in the nation.

  14. OneWorldGovernment

    I want carbon dioxide tax struck at $330 per tonne.

    Then I want the smart folk to turn on nitrogen that is stuffing Gaia.

  15. Tel

    Great stats from Jo Nova on the power produced at Hazelwood compared with all the wind farms in the nation.

    Which contains the answer to the discussion I was having with MV about boilers and turbines.

    However, yesterday at around 8AM, Unit 8 started to come back on line. It took 4 hours to reach full power delivery, but now it’s just humming along, just like the other seven units.

    There you go: one unit starting from completely out of action up to full power in 4 hours. So yes the station can adapt to changing load, but not instantaneously. I would presume the time constant is limited by time taken to safely bring the fire and boiler up to the additional power, although possibly the turbine itself needs to come up to temperature gradually to avoid internal damage.

    Anyway, looking at the wind energy chart, it swings over a range of about 1GW in less than the space of 4 hours, so a coal fired steam turbine isn’t fast enough to chase that… but it’s actually not so far off. With some temporary assist from a big slab of batteries (let’s say enough for 8 hours to have something for contingency) you might be in the ballpark of handling it. Mind you that’s one single unit at Hazelwood but that’s only 160MW so you would have to be upping and downing roughly 6 of those (not all at the one plant!) to handle 1GW swing. Other plants have bigger turbines, so maybe 4 units would cover it.

    Batteries to handle 1GW for 8 hours and fill the gap would be 8GWh of batteries. From Ars Technica:

    On Thursday morning, the Australian Financial Review published a story saying that Lyndon Rive, Tesla’s vice president for energy products, promised the company could deliver 100-300 MWh of storage to South Australia within 100 days of signing a contract.

    It’s going to take about 20x more batteries than that… and a bunch of warm standby thermal power plants.

    To be fair though, the standby coal plant could be in a different state as spinning reserve and clocking over on someone else’s CO2 tally. That would help hide the problem.

  16. OneWorldGovernment

    Tel
    #2333140, posted on March 21, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    Great stats from Jo Nova on the power produced at Hazelwood compared with all the wind farms in the nation.

    Which contains the answer to the discussion I was having with MV about boilers and turbines.

    However, yesterday at around 8AM, Unit 8 started to come back on line. It took 4 hours to reach full power delivery, but now it’s just humming along, just like the other seven units.

    There you go: one unit starting from completely out of action up to full power in 4 hours. So yes the station can adapt to changing load, but not instantaneously. I would presume the time constant is limited by time taken to safely bring the fire and boiler up to the additional power, although possibly the turbine itself needs to come up to temperature gradually to avoid internal damage.

    I will only be satisfied when we have no more coal fired power stations in existence in Australia.

    Conspiracy time.

    The Club of Rome, among other decisions, determined to return Australia back to it’s original inhabitants. The Australian Aboriginals.

    Imagine if white Australians and Americans returned to Europe and took it over again.

    I’d imagine that the entire Middle East and Africa would be soon colonized.

  17. Tel

    Rome ain’t got a big enough club… none of that is gonna happen.

  18. Nighthawk the Elder

    Tel,
    There are a number of limitations on the Hazelwood plant that require the slow start up time.
    One you mentioned was the turbine, which is correct. The big masses of metal that make up the rotors and cylinders have to be heated slowly so they expand relative to each other, as there is only a few millimetres clearance between fixed and stationary blades.
    Hazelwood boilers have a thick walled steam drum (not a separation vessel) and there are design limits on the heating rate to prevent hogging.
    And finally the boilers at Hazelwood are right on the size limit for natural circulation boilers, (no boiler circulating pump) so it takes a bit of time to establish the buoyancy effect to promote this circulation. Without it, the tubes will be cooked.
    As for unit 8 mentioned in the story, it came off for a tube leak and was fixed within a couples of days. The only reason it took 4 hours to return to service was because everything was still quite hot and was relatively easy to return. A normal run up by comparison from cold is around 10 to 12 hours.
    Base load coal fired units are just not designed to chase the big changes in load, especially lignite fired ones. Their ability to turn down is very limited, without using very expensive support fuel. There have been experiments with two shifting, which is shutting units down when not needed and keeping them boxed up to minimise heat loss (i.e. no maintenance). They can be back on full load within an hour or two. The Brits have done this successfully on black coal fired boilers, but there has been less success here on lignite boilers. (Yes it was tested).
    To chase changes in load, gas turbines are more responsive.

  19. Tel

    A normal run up by comparison from cold is around 10 to 12 hours.

    OK, that’s extremely slow… didn’t know it was that bad… but having said that if it was chasing wind power you can see that the volatility is high, so the thing would rarely if ever get time to cool all the way down. There’s at least one wind peak and trough per day, if not several.

    To chase changes in load, gas turbines are more responsive.

    Sure, that’s well understood, but there’s a number of problems. We already have a lot of coal plants, and we have a lot of coal, and also gas turbines are more expensive to run (combined cycle is not so bad but you run into similar problems to the coal because once again the boiler needs to heat up, the turbines need to heat up, etc. etc). Worse when we start paying the international spot price for gas.

    Better boiler technology exists, but again that’s more infrastructure expense replacing old boilers. Minimizing heat loss is worth doing anyway, no idea what it costs to retrofit an old plant (just get some of KRudd’s pink bats installers on the job) but I’m guessing it’s cheaper than applying dynamite like they did in SA and starting from nothing. If for no better reason, sequentially replacing pieces of existing plant spreads the expense and saves interest payments (debt is non-linear, you pay a lot more going into debt than you would get back having savings of equal capital amount).

  20. mem

    Moodys has just released its latest report on SA. The gung ho headlines from AAP, ABC and co are meant to preempt tomorrow’s headlines however if you read into the report it is much more constrained. Unfortunately I can’t post but here is the ABC version.” SA’s energy plan affordable, will increase power security, Moody’s says
    SA has been given a tentative tick of approval by the global credit ratings agency Moody’s.
    Key points:
    Moody’s says $500 million plan will increase SA budget deficit, but is manageable
    It should increase energy reliability and maintain economic stability over longer term
    Potential operating losses of “peaking” gas generation likely to be immaterial
    Moody’s has left its credit rating of South Australian debt unchanged, despite noting the $500 million plan could increase the budget deficit and leave the state exposed to the risks associated with operating a power plant.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-21/moodys-gives-south-australian-energy-plan-tick-of-approval/8374052

  21. EvilElvis

    Nighthawk, Tel,

    All great info and of great interest. It shows the folly of expectation on base load plants to now become short spurt, support units to unreliable sources of electricity that will never replace the base load plants. That’s what they were designed for, that’s what they do.The technology and design is fine. Maybe a Marxist, 35 years ago, should have got an engineer to design a fast response, coal fired plant to cover their future renewable unreliability.

  22. Nighthawk the Elder

    Thanks Tel,

    Yeah, applying more insulation on old boilers to keep them hot is one of the techniques used on the “two shifting” I mentioned above. It does help with keeping the heat in and restarting them quicker. The existing Hazelwood units are probably too clapped out to do this now unfortunately.

    As for replacement plant, as I just posted in a reply on Jo Nova’s site, the ideal place to undertake the replacement is the Hazelwood site itself. All the supporting infrastructure is already in place. The existing units could be replaced progressively with whatever the latest technology is and to suit the current market conditions (i.e. designed to be able to respond to the load changes). And there is still a number of years of coal available under the exiting mining licence.

    Why don’t we do it? Because nobody wants to spend years buried in bureaucracy and potential lawfare by idiot greens as you try get through the approvals nightmare. Gina Reinhardt was right to complain about the crap needed to get a large investment off the ground in this country. (Mine, power station, industrial facility; all evil in the mind of a green).

    It’s far easier for investors to take their money to some third world shithole, pay the appropriate gratuities to the “right people”, get your project off the ground quick smart and make your return in record time.

  23. Tel,

    A steam turbine generator can respond from no load to full load and back to no load, or any points in between, in about seven tenths of a second. All that changes is the amount of steam passing through the turbine, as opposed to the amount bypassing it. Automated valves control this.

    However, to do it, there has to be a constant, and non-fluctuating supply of steam at a set temperature and pressure. This does not change whether the turbine and generator are running at full load or no load. This means burning the same amount of coal regardless of whether the generator is producing power at maximum capacity, or not at all.

    As I’ve said before, the boilers do not have an accelerator pedal. They burn a constant amount of coal, mixed with a constant amount of air, to produce a constant amount of heat, to boil a constant amount water, to produce a constant amount of steam, at a constant temperature and pressure.

    In other words they cost the same amount to run regardless of whether they are actually producing electricity or not. The way the rules work at the moment this is uneconomic, since sales of electricity are sporadic, and depend entirely of how the wind is blowing.

  24. 2dogs

    $190 / tonne is vastly in excess of the price given for the cost of mitigation mentioned in the Stern Report. (Remember that?)

    If the cost of mitigation is $190/tonne, it is no longer the economically favourable option relative to adaptation.

    Even at Stern’s ridiculously low interest rates. Even at 0% interest rates.

  25. duncanm

    duncanm,

    I can’t wait until all coal fired power stations are shut down.

    .. in SA.

    You clipped that last bit and quoted me out of context.

    F’wit

  26. duncanm

    Don’t get too worried about the slow start-up times of large generators.

    The power demand is relatively predictable. Especially from the large industrial users.

  27. incoherent rambler

    Re: the start up times.

    You guys need to think of loaded Road Train acceleration versus sports car.
    Think about how long it might take to bring 2000 tonnes of turbine up to full speed.

  28. The power demand is relatively predictable. Especially from the large industrial users.

    Irrelevant, Duncanm. The problem isn’t demand-side, it’s supply-side. As far as a baseload power station is concerned, knowing what the overall demand is likely to be is unhelpful if you don’t know how much power you’re going to be able to sell into that demand.

    At the moment that depends entirely on what the wind is doing. If the wind isn’t blowing, or is blowing too hard, the baseload station gets to sell a lot of electricity. If the wind is blowing within acceptable parameters, the baseload station gets to sell some or none.

    This situation is in a constant state of flux. Meanwhile, the boilers are chewing up the same amount of coal 24/7, and employing the same number of people, regardless of how much power is being sold.

  29. truth

    It’s all for Socialism/Communism…not ‘for the planet’

    Direct quote from Dr Ottmar Endenhofer, IPCC, co-chair of Working Group 3, dated November 13, 2010.

    “We (UN IPCC) redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy …”
    “One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore …”

    And here….
    David McKnight is a ‘formerly’ Communist academic who gave Rudd his blueprint for getting elected in 2007.

    In McKnight’s writings , he searches for new ways for the Left …or ‘progressive’ as he prefers……new ways for Socialism to regain its power within democracies…lamenting that only countries with regimes like China…’capable of extreme violence’…can achieve the Socialist aims of even partially eradicating private property and the free market….so that path has to be dropped.

    But McKnight sees climate change as the Left’s great new opportunity for resurgence….and muses…..
    ‘Climate change is an issue which won’t go away. It is no longer an ‘environmental’ cause but one that centrally involves the economy. It may become a central driver of all government decision-making. May 09

    ‘The Left can begin to engage in a collective effort to provide a synthesis of ideas, values and theory. Then, maybe, we will see ‘a new left forming’

    McKnight forecasts much pain, unprecedented—

    ‘ massive dislocation and deprivation’,

    ‘the social and political consequences will be volatile and unprecedented. The battle to lower use of fossil fuel will cause social conflict and economic disruption.

    The regulated road involves mandating that an increasing proportion of electricity must come from renewable sources. This would see the price of electricity rise dramatically.

    …the cost of energy will need to be enormous’

    ‘ we are talking about far, far more than what we pay at the petrol station, and in our electricity bills. Rather we are talking about the cost of everything that is produced and is transported using energy and that includes, well, just about everything, starting with food, clothing and shelter. ‘

    …’a genuine groundswell of support is needed to make the sacrifices acceptable.’

    [ A new ‘threat’was needed to herd ‘the masses’.]

    ‘ Herein lies the chance for the revival of political parties like the Labor Party. The old vision of the labour movement was based on the threat of material deprivation and the need for social equality. It asserted that survival lay in a collective approach not an individual one. It called on supporters to make great sacrifices to achieve a grand humanitarian ideal.’

    ‘The collectivist and egalitarian values associated with socialism will acquire a new relevance in the emerging political situation.’

    ‘The most pressing issue is the need to reinvent an inspiring, new kind of mass politics to struggle for sustainability and against the powerful coal, energy and electricity corporations.’

    [And he says it’s a great opportunity for a resurgence of the Left.

    Of course while the rest of us make the sacrifices that would be required in the 100% RE ….energy-poor and insecure …declining Australia…many of those who created the situation …like Divestmnt activist Hewson and CAGW guru to governments, Garnaut…..have hedged their bets with …until recently.. mostly undisclosed RE involvements that are dependent on TPM via RET and REC etc for their survival and for the untold riches they expect to generate..

    It’s long past time for ALL of those preaching to us re what WE must do/pay to ‘save the planet’..to at the very least be required to disclose their own vested interests..]

  30. NewChum

    All this discussion about startup times is irrelevant. Even discussing it is making justification for wind energy, which has no justification at all. To even discuss it is to signal that there is a topic worth talking about. Wind energy is what was used to get the first fleet from the UK to Oz. Or to crush grain or pump water in medieval times. It no longer has any purpose, having a very low EROEI, a very large environmental footprint and a very high cost.

    Any solution that does not involve building new latest technology coal plants to replace the old ones is not a solution.

    We are in the incredibly stupid phase of national decline of living off the hard work of our parents and grandparents, thinking we are gods gift to civilisations, all the while undoing all of the principles and work that got us to this point. We are closing down industry, moving it to China, while crippling ourselves with agreements, regulations and idiocy that the Chinese laugh at and ignore. Meanwhile, the Chinese are using all our capital to buy out our own land, homes and businesses, while we spend the proceeds on consumption. It’s not just the Chinese either, but they are visible.

    Now it’s true that Chinese can’t take the land or businesses and move them to China, but what they will do is take the returns on that capital and repatriate it.

    It’s idiotic and plain as day yet all the suggested solutions do nothing to reverse the situation. Starting with arguing how we might better accomodate wind power. In an open market for energy, wind power would not exist, and solar would be for caravans and bush cottages. Wasting borrowed capital and irreplaceable labour on value-consuming windmills and solar panels – all imported – is as stupid as building easer island statues instead of farming and building shelters.

  31. Tim Neilson

    as stupid as building easter island statues instead of farming and building shelters

    Stupider, I think. Some visionary genius on Easter Island may have realised that they were bequeathing a valuable tourist industry to their descendants.

    But there’ll be so many abandoned wind farms and solar farms all round the world that no-one will come here to see one.

  32. Habib

    These douchenozzles need to have the cloak of legislative protection removed so they are personally liable for the inevitable losses incurred as a result of their duplicity, grandstanding, corruption and imbecility. When they can be sued until their kidneys explode we’ll see how keen they are to take moronic risks with economic growth and others lifestyles so they can ponce about with likeminded twats, and suck votes from the reality and intellect-challenged.

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