Unreliable energy, not just ornamental but a deadly parasite

For a very long time we will have to maintain about 90% of baseload capacity (say 16GW) from hydrocarbon fuels available 24/365. Until it is viable to store electricity in massive quantities the unreliable sources only put up the cost of power so they are merely “expensive ornaments attached to the grid, virtue-signalling fashion statements.”

Regardless of their cheap cost (laughs up sleeve), the plated capacity, the average performance and political correctness, due diligence requires attention to the worst case scenario which is a windless night.

Think about that. A windless night with gas, coal and hydro falling short of the baseload required to keep the lights on. How many more power stations can be afford to lose? Remember to ignore plated capacity and average contribution over a long period.

No amount of additional Wind and Solar make a difference on a windless night.

We need them all the old reliables and we will still most likely be short in the summer peak.

Unfortunately the unreliable sources are not just expensive ornaments. They are parasitic on the old reliable coal-fired stations because the price system makes the old providers unprofitable through no fault of their own or their technology.

The unreliable drives out the reliable, especially when the price of coal was deliberately increased by way of royalties in Victoria.

So we need them all for the foreseeable future but they are driven out by the subsidised unreliables. How do the likes of Kerry Schott think we can get rid of coal before the storage issue is solved? We know that the senior ranks of the regulators are bare of the relevant experts, so where is the advice coming from?

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42 Responses to Unreliable energy, not just ornamental but a deadly parasite

  1. teddy bear

    Same place all the other advice comes from, paid yes “people”.

  2. Roger

    How do the likes of Kerry Schott think we can get rid of coal before the storage issue is solved?

    Living proof that being highly educated doesn’t equate to being highly intelligent.

  3. Neil

    Just wondering if someone could help. Renewable supporters say that prices are not going up because renewables are more expensive. They give this quote

    Rod Sims says “The main reason our power prices have gone up is because of network costs, which have pretty much nothing to do with whether they’re generated by renewable energy or coal

    They say recent power price rises have to do with what Sims says and nothing to do with subsidies distorting the market or that renewables are more expensive.

    Is Rod Sims right?

  4. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    The stated goals of fabian socialism is the destruction of the current world order, so that communism may rise from the ashes.

  5. Entropy

    It’s an unvirtous circle Neil. The network needs to be more complex and robust to handle the highly variable and dispersed sources of wind and solar. So the network costs are rising in line with the increase in renewables in the system. Rod Sims is an idiot.

  6. Stating the bleeding obvious I now think is a lost cause. We will simply have to go through the pain of constant blackouts like some third world country before the idiots are ousted and some sense prevails. What sort of destruction happens before that is anyone’s guess.

    Just watch the crime rate go up as every store that sells generators, gas cookers, torches, candles and every other assortment of products needed to exist in a country without power gets raided by desperate people. Then when food starts to spoil in shops and supermarkets, or becomes unavailable, watch what happens.

  7. Speedbox

    AEMO shows Wind and other at approx 5% of demand at present.

    I have never seen Wind and other exceed 11%. Ever. And 5-8% is the most common range. Its all very well for states like SA with their moribund economy, but for those of us elsewhere, reliance on Wind and other will be economically and socially catastrophic.

  8. Ben

    Neil – the recent ACCC inquiry report states that network costs have added more to consumer bills than renewable subsidies. The transmission companies send their cost requests to the regulator every few years, the regulator says too much money, the transmission companies took them to court and got their money. There was a process called “limited merit review” (or something like that) which facilitated the money raking, but that process has been abolished by Frydenberg last year. Which helps.

    What the ACCC report didn’t adequately cover (in my opinion) is the effect renewable generation has had on transmission networks, requiring ever more substations and transmission lines and maintenance, which all gets charged back to the consumer, but never mentioned in the context of cost of renewables.

    Then the AEMO ISP came out (after the ACCC pricing inquiry) and said that we need even more transmission lines to connect all the planned (but not yet constructed) renewables, to the order of billions of dollars investment in transmission networks and “firming” infrastructure.

    The renewable luvvies on one hand say “there are no subsidies”, then when you point out the two income streams from both the wholesale market and the RET, they say “but power purchase agreements puch thos LGC prices down to zero”, then when you show them annual reports from the QLD GOC Energy Queensland that states hundreds of millions in feed-in-tariff payments and RET certificates, not to mention reverse auctions, the luvvies say “oh that’s just bad business, they don’t know how to use the market properly”.

    Here’s a quote by Giles Parkinson from the comments section of his RenewEconomy blog:
    “They had to buy LGCs on market because the dumb idiots didn’t build any large scale wind or solar. Same in W.A., instead of building their own wind and solar plants and getting the LGCs for free, they bought LGCs off wind and solar plants in the eastern states. It’s hard to reach peak stupid, but they gave it a good shake.”

  9. Indolent

    Living proof that being highly educated doesn’t equate to being highly intelligent.

    It just depends what your goal is. Schott stated quite clearly before she ever took up the role (as a blow-in from the US) that her objective was “managed consumption” not increased production. With Morrison (not to mention Shorten) in charge, she is likely to succeed in limiting and controlling our power usage.

  10. Ben

    What nobody mentions is the logical inconsistency of the IPCC.

    The IPCC says that emissions are the greatest threat to humanity and that the electricity generation system is the easiest way to reduce emissions. But they don’t suggest rapid uptake of bulk nuclear power to reduce emissions from the electricity sector to almost zero, they want more wind and solar dribbling in over decades.

    In my opinion, this departure from logic is cause enough to disregard the IPCC, regardless of the other problems with their theories.

  11. Leo G

    “expensive ornaments attached to the grid, virtue-signalling fashion statements.”

    Wind turbine generators are parasitic ornaments. Only economic through subsidies paid by their fossil-fuel competitors, they extract their energy from the natural processes that transfer heat out of the atmosphere- likely thereby increasing atmospheric temperatures by more than the notional decrease from any CO2 emissions they replace.

  12. Art Vandelay

    Of course the Stupid Party is going to crack down on ‘price gouging’ from power companies rather than abolish the economically illiterate policies that caused massive price rises in the first place:

    Want cheaper power bills? The Government says it can save you up to $800 a year

    What is the Government proposing?

    A default power price for all customers

    Increase regulator’s power to crack down on anti-competitive practices

    Ensure power companies invest to meet energy demands

    Backing investment in new power generators

    Not surprisingly, there’s no admission of their own guilt in creating this mess at all.

  13. Delta

    How do the likes of Kerry Schott think we can get rid of coal before the storage issue is solved?

    She has no idea. I can attest to that after seeing and listening to her close up at several seminars and workshops.

    We know that the senior ranks of the regulators are bare of the relevant experts, so where is the advice coming from?

    Correct on the first point. The advice is initially directed by the politicians: take Trundle for example who was responsible for appointing warmist chief scientist Finkel and importing a real Greenie from New York – Audrey Ziebelman who is the CEO of AEMO. And look at the credentials of the top people on the Energy Security Board, AEMC, AEMO etc. They are all lawyers, accountants, financiers or activists.

    Here’s a view of Kerry Schott.
    Paula Conboy – Education La Trobe University, Agricultural Economics; University of Guelph, MSc Agricultural Economics – of Ontario Hydro fame.
    Clare Savage – Education University of Melbourne Bachelor of Commerce, and BA (Political Science and History)
    John Pierce – Education UNSW Bachelor of Commerce.

    So there you have it – that’s the entire Energy Security Board. Behind them beavering away in many positions are young professionals working outside their professional areas of training. Most appear committed to the BS narrative that the grid is transitioning to .. blah blah blah. For example I know of an academic committed to 100% renewables now working for AEMO on frequency control services and a chemical engineer responsible for “transitioning” the grid.

    To summarise, the managing bodies have been stacked with true believers in the global warming faith or whatever the current story is. They all follow the party line spelt out by Ziebleman, Schott and others. Ultimate responsibility rests at the feet of politicians who have led the nation down this path – aka recently departed Trundle, but the system has developed its own inertia and will continue onwards unless stopped.

    And as I said on the Why we need 100% fossil fuelled power thread, the only chance I see for a reset will be with a major system failure.

  14. RobK

    Is Rod Sims right?
    No. As per comments above.
    The term “firming”is coined to weasel the RE penetration forward at ever increasing commitment. At low penetration, say less than 10%, there is only notional design criteria to consider, some standards etc.. above this amount, say 10-20%, short term fluctuations (in the order of minutes) become problematic and some form of buffering is helpful. Batteries can do this, but the price goes up. 15-30% and load shifting becomes more important on a daily basis because baseload is being left out to dry. The price is being pushed up but cant cover batteries yet. By now the grid needs beefing up and conditioning with rotary line condensors as per Finkel’s recommendations. Higher penetration requires more redsign and planning. There is talk of a high voltage DC backbone transmission line along the extent of the grid. Technically this is a good solution but there’s a great cost.
    The point I’m trying to make is the term “firming” is deceptive in that it sounds like once you have firming, that’s it. Not so. The grid gets more an more complex and the baseload generators are pushed further back to ancillory use. This costs more. So back-up is gas, open circuit, cheap but inefficient and poorly utilized (traditionally OC gas was a short term peaker, but it will now need to carry full load occasionally and for long periods….different machine criteria….its a nightmare and expensive and redundant) . I could go on but you get the picture, i hope. The costs will continue to rise as penetration of RE increases.

  15. Atoms for Peace

    Imagine if all of the coal fired power stations decided to do maintenance for a week and let the ruinables handle the load.

  16. Dr Fred Lenin

    How much does it cost too connect rentseekers to the grid? Who pays for it ? Who pays for the safety of the rentseekers power when it surges on and off to prevent damage to the grid? Howmuch bribe money did the rentseekers pay the PS moguls and polliemuppets to get favourable laws in place for the rentseekers scam ? Did the guilty parties declare it on their tax returns ?

  17. Singleton Engineer

    All the experts should read this before they write off nuclear power in SA.

    https://www.conservatives.org.au/nuclear_mit_whitepaper

    I don’t necessarily support the Australian Conservatives or mouthpieces such as Cory Bernardi, but I do recommend reading the linked MIT paper. There’s a lot of truth in it and it is only 20 pages long.

  18. Charles

    If I had to guess where their advice comes from, I’d reckon it is from chicken entrails.

  19. Dr Fred Lenin

    Speaking of-parasites ,see where comrade Morrison is sending comrade turnbull to a climate scam conference In Indonesia ,mates , still ‘ suppose turnbull and his son had made squillions out of the scam so he’s bound to know the ins and outs , suppose he will take his instructions from the $34 trillions scammers and instruct the servants in the “lieberial “ party o imp,emen t them pronto ,the scammers want to get their grubby hands on the workers money . Where the Hell is our aTrump ,we need him desperately ,abolish are politics now.

  20. Bob in Castlemaine

    Rafe we already have near perfect methods of energy storage, they are of course fossil fuels and nuclear fuel. Why would anyone in their right mind want to go back to the days of sailing ships and beasts of burden?

  21. Squirrel

    Perhaps “Our ABC” could do their own version of The Block, and show how existing apartment buildings could be adapted to 100% renewables with on-site storage sufficient to guarantee 24/7 power, and then tell us all exactly what the (documented) upfront costs would be and how many thousands (tens of thousands?) per apartment that would translate to in additional strata levies.

    Just for fun, let’s set this must-see series in the electorate of Wentworth – maybe that charming old No.96 block on Moncur Street would be the place to do it.

  22. RobK

    SE,
    The nuclear paper is much along the lines of what i think, however, the irrigation idea needs a bit of work.

  23. RobK

    Squirrel,
    The real challenge would be to include some shopping centres and refrigerated warehouses. Include water and waste pumping HVAC etc.

  24. billie

    Hey, do you reckon this horse is dead?

    Dunno, flog it again……..

    Thwack!

    Repeat

  25. Antipodean

    If the advice is coming from AEMO, its little wonder. If you have a bit of a peek of former AEMO employee comments for AEMO on SEEK, the feedback is awful and an indicator of the dysfunction of the organisation.

    “Disorganised, no accountability, needing major shakeup of executives and management”

    “Poor support and management accountability”

    “A toxic and very political working environment with poor management”

    “An abysmal work culture”

    “Good technical staff, with some poor management working together to wreck things”

    “They hate engineers”

    You get the gist. Linky

  26. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Coal is being treated like Kryptonite by the green religionists, who have found many useful idiots in the Wentworth electorate, who house no third-world immigrants and have no problems paying bills.

    I have before me the election edition of the leftist Wentworth Courier, the free weekly delivered throughout our electorate. A full page ad from the dubiously funded Get Up! features a big lump of glistening, evil coal, headlined as The Liberals’ Climate Policy’, and tagged at the bottom ‘Don’t vote Liberal’. The Real Estate section House of the Week featured, as usual, a property with expectations around seventeen million dollars, and others also in the high ranges.

    What’s wrong with coal? I asked one true believer at a party this year.
    She took off taking her high dudgeon with her.

    It was like saying to the Pope that Christ didn’t die for our sins (although, come to think of it, maybe this one might not object, as the Climate Religion seems paramount in this Pope’s thinking too).

    It’s a hoax, people, and the sheeple need to be told. My guess, it will take twenty years to sink in.

  27. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Hey, do you reckon this horse is dead?
    Dunno, flog it again……..

    Billie, your horse is the one that is going to take a lot of flogging before it justly dies.

    Here y’are, have a lump of coal; now go away and die.
    Weakling.

  28. Lizzie:

    It’s a hoax, people, and the sheeple need to be told. My guess, it will take twenty years to sink in.

    …or a week after the power shuts down in a capital city and all the efforts to get it going again don’t work.

  29. Art Vandelay

    To summarise, the managing bodies have been stacked with true believers in the global warming faith or whatever the current story is. They all follow the party line spelt out by Ziebleman, Schott and others. Ultimate responsibility rests at the feet of politicians who have led the nation down this path – aka recently departed Trundle, but the system has developed its own inertia and will continue onwards unless stopped.

    In my experience, this is also the case within the Federal bureaucracy (eg, Treasury, Depts of Finance, Prime Minister and Cabinet, Environment, Industry etc etc).

    The majority are global warming zealots and all but a few public servants see AGW as an opportunity for fast promotion, international travel, and increasing the size of their empires through bigger budgets, more regulations and more underlings.

    As Obama’s former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”

  30. Bob in Castlemaine

    All that’s needed is to cut Wentworth off from the grid and make the faithful pay the bill for their naivety, let them suffer the infernal noise of 70 or so industrial wind turbines that must to be speared into the hills and parks of their little patch of heaven. Not to mention of course the up front $30k to $35k per household it would cost the well-healed inhabitants for the despoilation of their comfortable surroundings with these noisy giant fans plus the eye-saw of large costly Tesla battery installations on their street corners.
    Let’em walk the talk?

  31. Boambee John

    Rod Sims says “The main reason our power prices have gone up is because of network costs, which have pretty much nothing to do with whether they’re generated by renewable energy or coal

    Sims is hoping no-one will notice tge expensive interconnectors, and the need to connect widely distributed low capacity renewable generation sites to a network designed for a limited number of high capacity generators.

  32. Boambee John;
    One way to fix the issue is to demand all generators supply power at a certain standard and quality. In other words, the windmills must supply their own output leveling systems such as happens with coal and hydro. The variability which is passed on to the distribution system to deal with is not tolerated by any other supplier.

  33. billie

    Isn’t the mantra, that those with no argument will always go for the ad hom attack, Lizzie?

    “Here y’are, have a lump of coal; now go away and die.
    Weakling.”

    Nice one, so convincing .. oh wait, no its not, it’s just some intolerent troll.

    Face it, these excrutiating oscillations aren’t going to do anything, better to accept the facts and prepare for the worst.

    People have been saying the Climate scam is just about over for years and it isn’t, not even close.

    The MSM is powerfully influential, against it and we have no champion, so change direction.

  34. John Constantine

    We all know what is coming.

    Make sure all family members have a gas barbecue, a rainwatertank and a sack of legumes.

    For Christmas.

    Santa Comrade.

  35. RobK

    Billie,
    The MSM is powerfully influential, against it and we have no champion, so change direction.
    What direction do you recomend?
    Ive been running various businesses off grid since the early 80s. I still do, and consult to commercial clients to assess their returns on RE. RE has come a long way but it still cant compete with coal without the RET and various grants and FiTs. Retail Prices are already double what they would have been if there was no interference and the remedy being applied will just continue to become more expensive and less reliable as RE increases its share. Im happy to elaborate if you feel you have a counter argument.

  36. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Billie, your comment left you open to being called a troll and told to sod off.

    If you are not a troll, and are instead up-to-date on the sheer tenacity and lunacy of the so-called ‘science’ of IPCC ilk, and your comment was not an attempt to derail this thread, then I apologise unreservedly for telling you to hug the Kryptonite and get outta here. I thought you were implying that you were a full-on believer in climate lunacy and that our battles here against this green religion were like ‘flogging a dead horse’ because climate science was “true”.

    For battle on we must, defeating the overwhelming media and political vested interests trying to keep reality at bay from the mass of the population. And we must slay trolls who try to halt our progress in pointing this out.

  37. billie

    RobK, I don’t have a direction as such, but can see ranting about the MSM and bent climate science is going nowhere.

    I’ve put in a gas powered backup generator, as I reckon sooner or later, we’ll have big failures and that seems inevitable because we’re relying on less and less reliable sources. I’ll have some minor protection from the coming disasters caused by Labor governments state and federal.

    A counter argument, what do you mean, counter to screeching at the other side like so many do? It’s not working and I’m tired of being part of something that is unsuccessful, so am in my own way taking steps to ensure my tribe’s survival.

    I have to rely on what’s available, and take advantage of what’s on offer.

    Changing to Nuclear or other better, more reliable options is beyond Australia at the moment, all we can do is ride this out as best we can.

    Slinging mud though, is hardly a solution nor is constantly chanting the same thing over and over again and if anyone disagrees, the mob turns on them, see above. Many here are as bad as the left they all despise when push comes to shove they are just as poisonous.

  38. W Hogg

    The unreliable drives out the reliable, especially when the price of coal was deliberately increased by way of royalties in Victoria.

    Has there ever been a worse policy than the VSSR tripling coal royalties? They won’t collect the money on all the coal now at the bottom of a lake. And they can no longer generate enough power in summer.

  39. RobK

    Billie,
    Fair enough. I see it much the same but I am disinclined to give-up trying. I try to explain things in plain language that punters can understand. It’s actually reasonably difficult to do and i try to express some of the issues differently each time. Eventually the penny will drop. The sooner the better. Yes nukes would help, especially in remote areas away from coal and gas.

  40. Rafe Champion

    Billie I have been suggesting for some time to stop wasting time debating people who are not going to change their minds unless there are other people listening who can learn from the exchange.

    Likewise minimise the time spent in furious agreement and look for different things to do that can make a difference. My plan at present is to craft a message to alert 3 or 4% of the voters who are currently voting green or alp to what it means to have more unreliable energy in the system.

    Start where people are at, worried about the cost of power. Never mind the climate science debate, or what was driving the beneficial warming we have enjoyed. Find a way to explain that we need all the coal and gas power that we have, and then some, to keep the lights on and the price down.

    Besides, contrary to some comment above, we do have a Champion:)

  41. Bob in Castlemaine

    Spot on Rafe!

  42. Neil

    Thanks for the help re-Rod Sims. I think I get the fact that renewables means the network means more transmission lines and substations are needed and the network is more complex. But renewable supporters always keep quoting Rod Sims that renewables are not the major reason for price increases. He is hard to argue against

    https://www.accc.gov.au/speech/shining-a-light-australia’s-gas-and-electricity-affordability-problem

    The second point to note are the drivers of the electricity price increases; mainly network prices (41%), then higher retail costs and margins (24%), then generation costs (19%) and green scheme costs (16%).
    Network costs increased largely because particular state governments pushed for and achieved looser regulation of these then largely government-owned monopolies around 10 years ago. They did this to protect their revenues from what they were concerned would be strong Australian Energy Regulator regulation; the weakened rules limited the ability of the AER to ensure consumers pay only for efficient costs.
    While the rules have now been tightened, the damage has been done.

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