Why we need 100% fossil fuelled power

The push for unreliable energy has been renewed among the Wet and Green in the Liberal party in the wake of Turnbull’s revenge. It will not fly because it will come to grief on the rocks of engineering reality. Not without cost to the innocent and guilty alike.

The title should read practically 100% to allow for a few points of hydro and off grid generation by diesel and solar in remote locations.

The reason is fairly simple and it is explained in detail by the likes of Tony from Oz in comparing the cost of wind and coal power. He explains that the unreliables deliver such a small percentage of their plated capacity that they are not really cheap at all. That percentage is calculated as an average over the year, or month or whatever.

But the situation is a lot worse than that described using the average.

Considering the need of the human body for oxygen. We normally get along with some 20% of oxygen in the air we breathe. We can get by with smaller percentages, especially if we are not active. Maybe we can survive for some time with quite a small percentage.

But if the supply gets down to nil for a very small number of minutes we are first brain dead and then we are dead full stop.

Consider the contribution of Wind and Other to the grid at present. On a good day it is around 10%, suggesting the plated capacity is about three times that. To get 50% on a good day calls for five times the current plated capacity. Of course the old reliable coal burners would still be required to make up the difference.

But not all the days are good, sometimes the figure gets down to 2% or less and multiplying by five only gets up to 10% or so.

In the absence of 90% backup from fossil fuelled power the grid is now in the position of the human body with next to no oxygen.

The critical number is the lowest point, not the average, and certainly not the plated capacity.

So to keep the lights on we need at least 90% of baseload power to be available 7/24 from the old coal burners into the distant future until there is a serious revolution in storage capacity. Or nuclear power.

Until that time our Wind and Solar is merely an expensive ornament attached to the grid, a virtue-signalling fashion statement.

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29 Responses to Why we need 100% fossil fuelled power

  1. Confused Old Misfit

    So to keep the lights on we need at least 90% of baseload power to be available 7/24 from the old coal burners into the distant future until there is a serious revolution in storage capacity. Or nuclear power.

    You know that and I know that. Everyone who reads this blog (bar one or two complete fools) knows that.

    How does one get Kerryn Phelps and Rebekha Sharkie to the same state of enlightenment?

  2. stackja

    COM – RS – KP don’t understand anything.

  3. RobK

    We need to get rid of subsidies and the RET. All forms of electricity generation should be unfettered to compete.
    They each have strengths and weakness.

  4. Oh come on

    100% fossil fuel? I’m okay with nuclear in the mix.

  5. As I quoted yesterday, only through suffering will realisation come to the masses. We live in a different country to Venezuela etc and the government doesn’t have the ability to use the military or the police to put down dissent. Hell, they can’t even control African gangs and Greens on the rampage.

  6. None

    How does one get Kerryn Phelps and Rebekha Sharkie to the same state of enlightenment?

    You vote them out. Which means you have a lot of work to do to enlighten their stupid electorates

  7. egg_

    it will come to grief on the rocks of engineering reality.

    The difference between Scientists (Kindergarten) and Engineers, unless other people’s money (OPM) supports their retarded Science project.

  8. John Constantine

    Unless they know that ruinable power will deindustrialise australia, and they find that an acceptable way to topple an independent western racist settler society enclave and replace it with an acceptably compliant client state of their general assembly of Tyrants?.

    Comrades?.

  9. John Constantine

    Their hawkies chicom tribute beach hut on Sydney harbour.

    Their keatings profitable piggery to islamist trade.

    Their rudd family hundy million from contracts pile.

    Their gillards clinton foundation.

    Their malcom turnbull’s alex turnbull.

    It is easy to see that the number one drive of australias political and media elites isn’t the general relaxation and comfort of the proles.

    Comrade Maaaaates.

  10. Herodotus

    Wind and solar are only sensible in an off-grid-with-battery-backup (and a standby diesel genny) – that is to say a small remote domestic scenario.
    The evolution of it into the current mainstream grid madness has been revealing – it reveals just how stupid politics has become, and there’s no sign of a cure for it.

  11. egg_

    Unless they know that ruinable power will deindustrialise australia

    STEM are compliant with the Greens, if not their constituency today, “Environmental Engineering” and all.

  12. Euripides

    Great article simplifying the critical situation we are in. If only more folk, especially politicians, has a better grasp of basic statistics. Its the median value, not mean average, of renewable energy supply that kills the renewables argument.

  13. 132andBush

    +1, egg_

    This whole charades primary loser is science and real scientists, then by extension, humanity.

    Look who wins, politicians and grifters.

  14. Ben

    The logical inconsistency with the IPCC recommendations remains unaddressed. If emissions are humanity’s greatest threat the obvious solution is nuclear power asap. Without this recommendation, it seems obvious that emissions are not the greatest threat.

    The followers of ideology won’t be voted out until the majority of voters realise this. Take this blog (linked below) and the zealots’ comments as typical of the community that needs to be managed…

  15. Motelier

    Let them follow the climate change folly.

    One good aspect is the terrifying low opinion polls for the government in power and hence the life of the Prime Minister is limited.

    This will not stop until a leader says it is shite and ACTS accordingly.

  16. Tim Neilson

    Wind and solar are the Shaun and Mitchell Marsh of energy supply.

    There’s no point railing against them per se.

    We need to sack the selectors.

  17. hzhousewife

    Elderly gentleman just reassured me that our town (60,000 pop) could easily get enough electricity from the sun if enough land nearby could be used for solar panels. I asked what would happen to the canola crops. He then figured we should use the desert (for the solar panels). I asked what about transmission line loss and expense. Didn’t seem to matter, he is adamant we have to do this. Grrrrr. His vote cancels out mine.

  18. New Chum

    Rafe this post by TonyfromOz might be of interest there are links to the submission in the article it is 15 pages but I wonder if it could be published at this site over several days.
    PA Pundits – International
    “the relentless pursuit of common sense” A Variety of Opinions From Various Writers
    Australian Renewable Power – Queensland State Government Aims For 50 Percent By 2030
    Posted on Thu 06/02/2016 by TonyfromOz

    Here in Australia, the Queensland State Government has set up an Expert Panel Inquiry to investigate pathways to achieving a 50% renewable energy target by 2030.
    This is the website they have set up for the public to keep them informed and where the public can also contribute.
    https://papundits.wordpress.com/2016/06/02/australian-renewable-power-queensland-state-government-aims-for-50-percent-by-2030/
    http://www.qldrepanel.com.au/
    https://papundits.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/submission-for-queensland-50-renewable-target-by-2030-minus-address-and-telephone.pdf

  19. Delta

    Until that time our Wind and Solar is merely an expensive ornament attached to the grid, a virtue-signalling fashion statement.

    Well that’s one way of looking at it. However, if the current direction of the system planners (in the likes of the AER, AEMC, AEMO and TNSPs etc) is maintained our electricity network will be expanded to cater for the Renewable Energy Zones as outlined in the Finkel report. Now that document, produced by the Alan Finkel the chief scientist and and a warming believer, was embraced by parliament with all recommendations accepted bar the one about Emissions Intensity. Not to be outfoxed on the latter, an Energy Security Board was established and it produced a document – the National Energy Guarantee that should have been called a National Emissions Guarantee because that was what it was in disguise and led to ousting Trundle when he peddled the legislation to the Opposition before his own party room saw it. Yes, the enabling legislation was a Bill to Regulate Greenhouse Gases!

    So back to the ISP. (You can find links to the planning document and the interactive map on this page) It requires AEMO to assess areas across Australia for renewable energy. The interactive map is an easy way to see the locations of the zones also shown in the full report. AEMO is powering ahead with this folly to design transmission lines from nowhere (REZ) to somewhere where the power can be used, never mind there are significant times when no power or less is available. What is worse though is that wind power cannot follow a load curve – you can’t increase the power output from a wind turbine in response to a load increase on the grid. And the same applies to solar panels. Both are dependent on the energy inputs – the wind and the sun.

    It’s simple really – a fossil fuelled power station can follow the load. If the load increases, more fuel is supplied and the generator produces more power. That can be likened to driving a car at say 60kph with just the driver – and the throttle is at a minimum setting, then compare with driving at the same speed (equivalent to the same frequency on the grid) but the car now has 4 passengers and luggage. The engine speed is the same as before but the throttle is open wider. Renewable energy cannot perform in this way and no amount of storage and hydro could compensate for its inability to do so.

    It cannot be made to work!

    I recently attended a couple of workshops and a seminar in NSW to find that many of the staff undertaking this work in the Authorities, if engineers, are operating outside their professional areas of training and most appear to be the green advocates who are determined to build this brave new network oblivious or blind to the fact that is won’t work. They have few electrical engineers if any! So unless this is all stopped and a change in direction taken, it will end in huge costs, job losses and tears.

    For anyone who wants a greater technical understanding of some of the issues at stake, take a look at Stage 2 submissions about the ISP and read two (EESA and Cooke) that have been ignored and the presentation slides from a recent talk that shows the costs of renewable energy (if it was technically feasible) would be astronomical. (Note – posting direct links of the AEMO submissions produced a page not returned!).

    And, by the way, another critical issue with renewable energy is its lack of inertia that will result in the grid becoming less and less controllable as more “renewable” energy is imposed and at the same time possibly rendering protection systems inoperable.

    Finally, the only chance I see for a reset will be with a major system failure. I think that’s enough said if you made it through to the end!

  20. Dr Fred Le

    Easy fix Rafe , abolish subsidies to green power , confiscate Liddel and Hazelwood re commission them ,no compensation to a.g.l. Renntseekers . Remove left impositions on coal and gas ,make law requiring power to be supplied 24/ 7 or no entry to grid , finance new coal stations in Qld ,NSW Vic coalfields ,a new station in SA on the site of the one destroyed by the communists ,and a nuclear station in SA near uranium mine . Oh and absolutelely no climate power scam money to anyone,solar and wind power people to remove redundant facilities at own cost and restore sites to pristine condition .

  21. Dr Fred Lenin

    Easy fix Rafe , abolish subsidies to green power , confiscate Liddel and Hazelwood re commission them ,no compensation to a.g.l. Renntseekers . Remove left impositions on coal and gas ,make law requiring power to be supplied 24/ 7 or no entry to grid , finance new coal stations in Qld ,NSW Vic coalfields ,a new station in SA on the site of the one destroyed by the communists ,and a nuclear station in SA near uranium mine . Oh and absolutelely no climate power scam money to anyone,solar and wind power people to remove redundant facilities at own cost and restore sites to pristine condition .

  22. Delta, Fred et al:
    You cannot teach a horse to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the horse.
    Likewise, you cannot educate our governments about the folly they are pursuing, all it does is waste your time, and annoys the rent seekers.
    The only way this whole stinking, corrupt, mess of ideological pus is going to be sorted is when the grid goes tits up.
    Prepare for that. The cities refuse to.

  23. Delta

    Holy Crap:

    Trundle will represent Australia at an oceans conference in Bali on October 29-30! If the Libs weren’t finished with their shenanigans to date, this would have to be the undertaker throwing the last sod on the coffin of the Liberal party.

    What on earth would possess Morrison to be so stupid? The bed is hardly cold and he reminds everyone about Trundle who we can thank for our skyrocketing electricity prices and appointing greenie bureaucrats to ensure the damage continues.

  24. Kneel

    “100% fossil fuel? I’m okay with nuclear in the mix.”

    Indeed.
    We spend, what? $5billion p.a. on “renewables”?
    There are at least two LENR projects that need about US$200M to see if they will scale up and work as intended – one has been funded at several $M p.a. by the US Navy.

    Just one twenty-fifth of what we spend on ruinables in one year, could conceivably completely change the energy landscape forever.

    Zero interest from any pollie, anywhere. No bribes donations in it, see?

  25. cohenite

    So to keep the lights on we need at least 90% of baseload power to be available 7/24 from the old coal burners into the distant future until there is a serious revolution in storage capacity. Or nuclear power.

    There are 2 types of demand: baseload and peaking. Baseload is the unchanging 24/7 power needed to keep the social infrastructure ticking over: 24/7 industry, appliances, transport, street lighting, hospitals etc. Peaking power refers to the regular – every morning and night – and irregular additions to that demand. Baseload is about 18000 MW, whereas peaking can be up to another 12000 MW.

    Renewables cannot supply either type of demand.

  26. Rafe Champion

    Euripides, it is the minimum that is the killer, not the mean or the median.

  27. Jim Simpson

    Wish I could disagree but that’s a great comment by Winston Smith above at #2847635!!
    The Pollies are not listening & refuse to look,. Hoodwinked by the EcoLoony Green mantra demonizing CO2, an invisible, miniscule, essential life giving atmospheric gas necessary for life on earth. The outcome appears inevitable & will indeed end in tears.

    Perhaps as soon as the coming hot summer months Jan-Mar 2019 when demand, driven by increasing numbers of air conditioning units peak, leading to major power supply failures on the eastern seaboard. Sooner the better to bring some common sense & reality back into focus, albeit at the expense of consumers, both residential & business.

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