In Australia we look after those who suffer from some disability that impacts their lives and stops them from participating in our society. We have the NDIS, where public funds are applied to schemes that provide support and opportunities for those people suffering a disability. It is a good idea, sometimes poorly executed and often rorted by those who smell easy money.
We do the same for electricity; it is the NDEIS, where public funds are used to assist electricity generators with a disability to “participate in the market”. These are generators who cannot provide a secure, reliable and economic source of electricity and in a sane world would never be considered seriously by folk who know what they are talking about.
The NDEIS has become a monster that drains funds and pees them up against the wall. It came into being as a reaction to the mass hysteria of global warming, climate change, extreme weather, “global, heating” and “climate emergency”. The basic “science” wants us to believe that air can heat itself using the magic properties possessed by 1 molecule in every 2,500 molecules in the atmosphere. These magic molecules can apparently “trap heat”, sit around in a turbulent atmosphere for some indeterminate time while retaining that heat, and then use the “trapped heat” to heat up something hotter than itself.
The solution adopted to prevent the impending climate doom is to reduce the amount of magic molecules in the atmosphere and thus “turn the global thermostat down” so we don’t perish in some torrid apocalypse. “Emissions” of the magic molecule must be reduced rapidly and the low hanging fruit is the “fossil fuel” power industry. The solution is to use “zero emissions renewable energy”. This has been received with great enthusiasm and the NDEIS allows generators that are not capable of reliably serving the total electricity demand to muscle in to the market and displace those that can.
To convince the public that throwing away the cheapest and most reliable form of electricity generation was a smart thing to do a campaign of propaganda is employed. Coal is “bad”, carbon dioxide is “pollution”, coal fired power stations are “old/ageing/creaky/reaching the end of their lives”, the ice sheets are melting and rising sea levels will flood cities, Warragamba dam will never fill again, there will be no snow anywhere ever again amen. As people became more anxious the politicians exploited the “crisis” and the green lunatics found another cause to legitimize their mass foaming at the mouth, pious posturing and shouting of slogans. Publicly funded “scientific” and media organisations who should have known better and journalists whose knowledge of the subject could be written on the head of a pin, (with room left for the bible), are now fully engaged card carrying members. Hollywood celebrities, ex Vice Presidents and the Pope are ardent believers. The people who cautioned against such dramatic changes in the electricity system have been negated by name calling and other forms of abuse. They are now deniers, troglodytes, reactionaries and luddites.
The dodgy generators would save us all, but because of their disabilities they need “special” arrangements. The NDEIS guarantees them a bonus payment for every MWh of electricity they produce in addition to their market revenue. They also have special dispensation to enter “the market” whenever they have some electricity to sell and exit whenever the wind stops blowing or the sun sets or goes behind some clouds. It does not matter how much or how little the dodgy generators can supply, as long as they claim to “reduce emissions” and contribute to reaching energy nirvana where we run the place without “carbon emissions” they are welcome. The investors in “renewables” cannot believe their luck; here was a government so ill-informed and taken in by the “impending climate catastrophe” that making money was easier than shooting fish in a barrel. Perfectly good coal power stations have been closed and one has been demolished in some sort of obscene act of bridge burning by the political zealots.
It has not taken long to see that the promises “renewables” made will never be realised. Power reliability has plummeted and costs have risen dramatically. The “brutalist” coal power stations have had their market trashed because they have to make way for the dodgy generators at the drop of a hat but must be ready to save the day, again at the drop of a hat, when the limitations of wind and sun manifest.
Instead of taking a deep breath and thinking about whether the cure is worse than the disease the default position has been to deny that renewables have terminal deficiencies and double down on the stupidity. State governments insist on indulging in genital size competitions with each other, promising ever greater “emissions reductions” regardless of the financial harm that has been and will be caused to citizens and businesses who can no longer afford an essential service. The true believers still fantasise that all can be fixed by adding even more “intermittent” generators and that sufficient energy to run an economy can be stored in batteries or pumped hydro schemes; all that is needed is to keep throwing money down the toilet.
The NDEIS is a sheltered workshop for those who make money out of pointless “renewable energy”. Government bureaucracies continue to throw money at any fanciful idea without any consideration of the merits, or lack of them, and everyone pays the bill. Unwinding it will involve lots of crying, gnashing of teeth and expense but if we don’t then we can kiss goodbye to any future prosperity.
Supplementary reading, Jo Nova on the impact of unreliables on the reliable generators.