In an article in The Australian today the head of Origin Energy, Grant King, suggests the industry would be hard pressed to build the amount of capacity our callow political leaders have determined we should accept as part of the “compromise” deal to build 33,000 GWh by 2020. Grant King suggests that it would be difficult to have this, a more than quadrupling of capacity, constructed in the period. Predictably, Tristan Edis, Business Spectator’s resident shill for the wind farmers does not think 33,000 is enough and vilifies the Senators involved in the current Inquiry into wind farms as religious nutters supported by the ‘fossil fuel funded Australian Environment Foundation’ (the gigantic annual income of which would not pay a week of his own funding).
Grant King may be right about the capability of the industry to supply the capacity with its subsidy at twice its market value, though when the question was put to me at the Senate committee wind farm hearing on Tuesday, I answered that with a sufficient financial incentive in subsidies and with sufficient certainty that a future government would not welch on out year payments, it should be possible. This is based on the fact that the turbines are bought off the shelf and erecting them is straightforward. I added that the main reason they might not be built on time is the (in this case welcome) morass of planning hurdles that the builders face.
Unfortunately, these barriers have been reduced by the airheaded government in Victoria which only wants to see the immediate jobs and money spent on the negative value-added facilities. As Alvarez and his colleagues demonstrated for Spain for every four jobs wind farms create, nine are lost because of the higher cost they impose (in the context of relatively inflexible wages – if wages were flexible no jobs would be lost and the subsidies would simply leave us poorer). Spain, with policies like this bringing unemployment at 26 per cent has seen the light and terminated them, in some cases retrospectively withdrawing the subsidies.
In response to the Australian article “Terrence” commented:
The rorting of energy users accelerates with the new RE target of 33,000 GWh by 2020. From what I’ve read one wonders if anyone has actually reviewed the feasibility of this half-baked plan given it’s huge costs and few (if any) benefits.
In 2014 the RE industry generated a miniscule 9% of Australia’s power – a total of 19,500 GWh with two thirds coming from hydro and one third, less than 7,000 GWh from wind/solar. To reach the new RE target (hydro is not allowed and solar is insignificant) wind will have to add 13,500 GWh to existing 19,500 GWh to reach the target of 33,000 GWh by 2020.
In other words Australia’s wind generated capacity will have to TREBLE in five years, even though it’s taken 15 years to get this far.
According to the RE industry’s Chris Judd this expansion will require an additional 4,800 MW of wind turbines.
These wind turbines (+/- 2,000) will probably cost in the order +/- $4 million a MW = a staggering $19.2 billion capital cost for these bird killing monstrosities that only work seven hours a day and with a life of 15 years max. $20 billion could buy our new subs, or 40 major hospitals.
Canberra needs to go back to basics and produce a realistic energy plan for Australia’s future and discard this Green driven Alice in Wonderland version that, in the real world would be thrown out and the perpetrators put in care for their own protection.