Renewable energy the economy wrecker (cross post)

Matt Zema, inaugural head of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), attended a meeting a year ago of the Regulation Economics Energy Forum at which a number of prominent electricity industry executives were present.  Proceedings at the meeting were private, but the need for confidentiality was removed with Matt’s sad death three months later. The following were among his remarks:

“The renewable developments and increased political interference are pushing the system towards a crisis.  South Australia is most vulnerable with its potential for wind to supply 60% of demand and then to cut back rapidly.  Each new windfarm constrains existing ones and brings demand for more transmission. The system is only manageable with robust interconnectors, but these operate effectively only because there is abundant coal-based generation in Victoria…

… wind, being subsidised and having low marginal costs, depresses the spot price and once a major coal plant has a severe problem it will be closed…

… wind does not provide the system security.  But the politicians will not allow the appropriate price changes to permit profitable supply developments from other sources.  And the original intent of having the generator or other beneficiary pay for transmission and services over and above energy itself has now been lost so there are no market signals, just a series of patch-ups that obscure the instability and shift the problem to include Victoria. In the end the system must collapse…”

A month later South Australia’s coal-fuelled Northern Power Station was disconnected from the network because it was unable to operate profitably against subsidised intermittent renewable energy that has priority over other supplies.

The patch-ups continue with inter-temporal power shifting (a process that reduces the gross amount available) like the impossibly uncommercial Snowy “Nation Building” pump storage proposal and the Elon Musk battery scheme. The latest saviour, a new solar-battery combination, Lyon Solar in the Riverland, promises 300 Megawatts of capacity, equivalent to 80 megawatts of coal fuelled electricity, and comes at a cost of one billion dollars.  It essentially provides electricity worth $50 per megawatt hour for $214 per megawatt hour.

That’s progress!  Read more at Quadrant 

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Renewable energy the economy wrecker (cross post)

  1. Herodotus

    The national energy market should be scrapped and each state will then be answerable for its own energy supplies and energy security, and prices. States which go down the SA and VIC route are banking on backup from coal or hydro in other states. Like most Green or Labor policies, it is grossly misguided, as is continuation of the RET.

  2. Mike of Marion

    I’m in SA. We have two absolute clowns at the controls, each feeding each other’s ego. ( The Opposition is just as pathetic.)

    All political grandstanding with a horrendous cost upon us.

    And looming disastrous blackouts.

  3. john constantine

    Their Grim Reaper electricity policies do indeed progress the deconstruction of society, from a capitalist, patriarchial, racist, homophobic, unfair and unequal industrial manufacturing society towards a wymynsys paradise of good clean office jobs in a Big Government services economy.

    There need be no power cuts [except for rolling blackouts out in tory voting rural electorates] once deindustrialisation shuts down the excessive unjust demand for baseload capitalist profit driven power uses.

    Dynamite the coal plants, then dynamite the smelters [after creating departments of caring for unemployed smelter workers] then dynamite what is left of industry.

    Stalin wins his glorious hundred year plan.

  4. Bruce

    Stalin, for all his appalling slaughter, was a serious promoter of heavy industry. How does anyone think the soviets churned out vast quantities of weapons , tanks, aircraft, artillery, etc. during WW2 and beyond?

    The other great “folk hero”, Mao, blackened the skies of China as a symbol of “progress”.

    The eco-nazis are just collectivist sociopaths without the snappy uniforms.

  5. Mark M

    If the weather/climate seems slightly better today, the cause was probably “The Queer Dance Party for Climate Justice”:

    http://www.popville.com/2017/04/photos-queer-dance-party-for-climate-justice-outside-ivanka-trumps-house-saturday/

  6. john constantine

    Sky tells us this morning that south australian premier weatherfilth will visit two places today.

    He will go to a social justice solar farm, and he will go to the bankrupt Arrium steelworks.

    Watch their media tuck, roll and cover as they refuse to link the two.

  7. Anonandon

    Lucky for Victoria the car industry shut down the same time as Hazelwood.

  8. Dr Faustus

    This piece nicely highlights the fundamental failure of government at all levels.

    As I have been banging on recently, AEMO was well aware of the network problem created by the build-out of non-dispatchable, non-synchronous renewables, particularly in SA. It’s an engineering problem hanging off the laws of physics – not an economic, or interpretive dance issue that can be bent to suit a preferred narrative.

    Their advocacy was mute and accommodating of political stupidity (viz the ‘privacy’ of the proceedings of the Regulation Economics Energy Forum). They try desperately to satisfice their stakeholders (viz the equivocal initial report on the first SA blackout).

    AEMO is part of the problem – and a neuter in any solution.

  9. James of the Glen

    I’m in SA. We have two absolute clowns at the controls, each feeding each other’s ego. ( The Opposition is just as pathetic.)

    Indeed. And don’t forget Rann’s (and the Ranns’) man, A-G Rau, who decided it was OK to place industrial wind turbines just 1 km from residences (now practically worthless).

    Where will the Opposition “Leader” Marshall be today? Invisible. No gumption, nothing planned to get an alternate message on TV news to the urban peasants who still think wind is “free”, etc, etc. And where are the rest of the Opposition drongos? Silent as lambs.

    Wind Farm Spain, here we come: 26% adult unemployment.

  10. Dr Faustus

    On “social justice electricity“.

    This is not john constantine black poetry. This will happen via a levy on ‘those who can afford to pay’, plus business, to fund the billions of dollars required to be paid off to Elon Musk and other rentseekers for system support batteries.

    There is no other solution. Political stupidity cannot be easily reversed. And the vote-herds will not be asked to pay, because it is fair that politicians be allowed to fuck up at no cost to themselves.

  11. Zyconoclast


    Productivity Commission calls for NSW to axe ethanol mandate

    The federal government’s key independent advisory body has recommended the axing of a controversial policy designed to boost ethanol use by NSW motorists because it increases petrol prices and reduces competition.

    The Productivity Commission also says a mandate that 6 per cent of all petrol sold by major retailers in NSW must be ethanol may not have the claimed environmental benefits.
    But the recommendation has been rejected by the NSW government as it prepares to launch an advertising campaign in support of its most recent attempts to encourage motorists to use E10, a blend of regular unleaded and up to 10 per cent ethanol.

    Another part of the renewable energy/climate scam.

    Lots of meetings with lobbyists, lots of donations Ta da!!!

  12. Snoopy

    The national energy market should be scrapped and each state will then be answerable for its own energy supplies and energy security, and prices.

    The ACT should be totally reliant on local supplies. No interconnectors with NSW.

  13. NewChum

    The E10 mandate is a particularly odious thing. It requires extra engineering in cars, it requires extra tanks and pumps in stations, and it has zero environmental benefits.

    The whole thing would collapse overnight if you pulled the mandates and subsidies.

    As would wind, as would solar.

  14. struth

    John Constantine is absolutely correct.

    Many would have said previously that people like him (myself included) were conspiracy theorist.

    Well there is a conspiracy that has now quickly turning into out right war.

    As the sherriff B T Justice said.
    It’s just pure old fashion communism.

  15. Does anybody else remember the bad old days when electricity was considered a utility supplied by the state government, and it was so hideously expensive a lot of people couldn’t pay their bills, and so unreliable we had blackouts and brown-outs all the time?

    Thank goodness governments privatised the supply, and encouraged investment in renewables.
    Now we have cheap, reliable power at our fingertips, everybody can afford to air condition their homes, and investment in manufacturing is booming.

  16. Does anybody else remember the bad old days when electricity was considered a utility supplied by the state government, and it was so hideously expensive a lot of people couldn’t pay their bills, and so unreliable we had blackouts and brown-outs all the time?

    Thank goodness governments privatised the supply, and encouraged investment in renewables.
    Now we have cheap, reliable power at our fingertips, everybody can afford to air condition their homes, and investment in manufacturing is booming.

  17. Does anybody else remember the bad old days when electricity was considered a utility supplied by the state government. They were so inefficient it was so expensive a that lot of people couldn’t pay their bills, and so unreliable we had blackouts and brown-outs all the time?

    Thank goodness governments privatised the supply, and encouraged investment in renewables.
    Now we have cheap, reliable power at our fingertips, everybody can afford to air condition their homes, and investment in manufacturing is booming.

  18. Does anybody know what it means when you hit the “Post comment” button, and your comment just disappears? Not into moderation or anything, just . . . gone.

  19. Zyconoclast

    Does anybody know what it means when you hit the “Post comment” button, and your comment just disappears? Not into moderation or anything, just . . . gone.

    Memory hole?

  20. Mark A

    memoryvault
    #2345016, posted on April 4, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Does anybody know what it means when you hit the “Post comment” button, and your comment just disappears? Not into moderation or anything, just . . . gone.

    it will be posted later happened to me before, sit in memory because the system is doing more urgent tasks at that moment. doesn’t happen often but when it happens it tends to be pushed back further and later posts appear earlier. they will come, rest assured.

  21. Roger

    Article in the Oz yesterday about Chinese clean coal technology and their interest in possibly taking advantage of our energy crisis to set up here. I sent it to my local members in case their staffers edited it out of their newspaper digest for the day.

  22. Marcus

    Great article. That Victoria is already importing via Basslink says it all.

  23. I see an excellent business opportunity coming on – exchange rechargeable batteries.
    People in VIC, SA and NSW will be able to take their phone/laptop/tablet etc batteries to a dealer, and exchange it for one charged up here in QLD.

    Customers will have a choice between batteries charged with derdy coal power, or pay a premium for clean, green, organic electrickery generated from moonbeams and pixie dust.

  24. RobK

    Thank you Alan…..for persisting when many have succumb to frustration and dismay at the craziness and ultimate cost of this offering on the political alter to please the carbon dioxide god. Heaven help us.

  25. duncanm

    .. and this is exactly why the GST redistribution needs to stop. SA can continue to underperform and kill off industry, with the guarantee that the rest of the nation will prop them up.

  26. egg_

    We have two absolute clowns at the controls, each feeding each other’s ego.

    As suspected, ManToddlers at the controls and AEMO too cowed to set them straight that too much renewballs is not a good thing.

  27. Leo G

    “… AEMO too cowed to set them straight that too much renewballs is not a good thing.”

    Australian banks, Super funds and the Future Fund have each invested their future on returns from renewable energy that can only materialise if lower cost energy generation is not available.

  28. Dr Fred Lenin

    Comrades of South Australia we appreciate your support in the struggle against the world destroying coal aggressors ,they are determined to defeat the wonderfull new religion of gaia and u.n.communist one world unelected government . We will prevail against them with the support of al gore. Soros and certain Cayman island accounts . Let us march side by side and back to back backwards into the powerless future with the beloved comrade weathercock and the greek bloke , poverty is cleansing ,absolute poverty is squeaky clean

  29. Tator

    Dr Fred,
    Don’t worry too much about it, the populace is revolting against them. Last time only the dodgy electoral system saved them as the TPP was Liberals 53% to ALP 47% with the ALP polling only 35.8% of the primary vote. Not really a strong electoral position to be arrogant in. Plus a shafted ALP member has quit so they have to deal with a minority government from here to March next year. Will be interesting if anyone changes their mind over out of the independents. The way it is going, the ALP is looking a primary of 28% in March as they have banked up far too many major scandals in this term.

  30. Motelier

    Memoryvault,

    Your “new” busines is easily undercut by my new business.

    Installing, servicing and maintaining home generators both SI and CI.

  31. Installing, servicing and maintaining home generators both SI and CI.

    Ah, but at least my business will be legal.

  32. john constantine

    They are now making doona onesies, where people unable to afford heating can walk around in their beds this winter.

    Australia, you are such a wealthy country that you don’t need to heat your house anymore, you can wear a doona onesie all winter.

  33. DaveR

    Its obvious what has to be done to restore stability into the power generation system-

    Subsidies on wind and solar have to be reduced to a level where – when they come on-line- they dont deliver power at a cost below baseload coal power stations, therefore protecting them economically and preventing them closing.

    Oh wait a minute— that wasnt the intention!

  34. Rob

    If the AEMO was to disclose the total number of seperate profit taking entities imbedded in the stinking bog that Australia’s electricity system has become, then ordinary people might be shocked into realising how it is our politicians have finally rendered themselves incapable of addressing its approaching meltdown.
    Even worse is watching a coterie of left wing activist bullies and know-nothing idiots happily celebrating the results of their relentless and destructive campaigning.
    Australia is a nation that is going backwards.

  35. john constantine

    Their weatherfilth has fixed it with a financial arrangement that makes it cronywell profitable for a billion dollars worth of batteries and panels to be stacked in south australia [worlds biggest combined heap.]

    If that doesn’t fix it, their filth will just create even greater long term financial liabilities, using The Grim Reaper Electricity Panic to deconstruct the society the left loathes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *