David Bidstrup. Another “road map” showing the way to the economic abattoir

Today’s Australian, (29 June 2020), carries a story in the business section entitled “Clean energy “could create a million jobs””. A “think tank” called “Beyond Zero Emissions” wants to see the construction of a further 90GW of solar and wind generation capacity and then “harvesting that through the economy”, whatever that means.

It is interesting from the perspective of the reliability of renewables over the past years and the paltry amount they contribute to demand at any time. Some time ago I laboured through an analysis of the 2018 generation statistics and arrived at some conclusions that showed how little the “renewables” contributed to the total electricity consumption. In that year wind and solar supplied 9% of consumption and “reliables” supplied 91%. The highest load during the year was just under 31,000 MW, at around 5.30 p.m. Just for illustration that day’s load curve is shown below.

Note that the data is given in 5 minute intervals so a full day has 288 data points. In the chart above midnight is point 1 and the next midnight is point 288.

The chart above shows the contribution from wind and solar combined during that day. Note that on that day the total contribution to the daily consumption in MWh from the “renewables” was 2.3%. “Reliables” contributed 97.7%.

Note also that the red area for solar is only in the middle of the day.

Whenever the renewable spruikers talk about how many GW of capacity they want to add, they miss the crucial point that the intermittency of the generation means that only a fraction of the installed capacity is useable, so to meet the maximum demand there needs to be serious overcapacity that would sit idle much of the time.

The 90GW that these people want to add might provide 18GW over the full year, allowing a generous 20% capacity factor, (annualised), but there will be times when it contributes bugger all.

The article reports that the Zero Emissions report wants to place renewables in the Pilbara and the Northern Territory, presumably because “there is lots of sunshine”, but these places are a very long way from the load centres and any transmission, if we could ever afford to build it, would have severe losses along the way. There is the usual garbage about Australia being “ideally placed to develop both wind and solar projects” but a look at work done by Paul Miskelly and Tom Quirk some years ago will show that the idea that “the wind is always blowing somewhere” is not based on fact but on wishful thinking.

Some other “recommendations” include:

  • “The acceleration of new energy and storage projects to unleash an abundance of cheap energy”, (whatever that means).
  • “Implementing a national housing retrofit program targeted at eliminating bills for 2.5 million low income households”.
  • “Building 150,000 zero-energy social housing dwellings”.
  • “Building electrified transport infrastructure such as electric bus fleets with localised and regional manufacturing”.

They also think that we can “upgrade our Aluminium smelters to flexibly ramp up or down to run off renewables. Giving them extra sources of revenue, (how this is done I am at a loss to understand), and guarantee long term security for their workers.

There is the usual hype about how wonderful this would be, stuff like:

“We want industry, communities and investors to work with us in this framework, to create the best ideas, ready with key partners and private capital to work with government to rebuild our economy”.

This is of course pure twaddle and not worth a minute’s consideration. If these people could see past the obsession with carbon dioxide and recognise that the destruction of the good power stations in the quest to “save the planet” has been the most stupid idea ever implemented we might get somewhere. Alas, I think there is not much hope for that. The fact that the BCA thinks this sort of stuff is good speaks volumes about the intellect of the business “leaders”.

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15 Responses to David Bidstrup. Another “road map” showing the way to the economic abattoir

  1. Professor Fred Lenin

    You cannot expect toget sensible truth out of a computer if you feed inspeculation and wishfull thinking in,bullshit in bullshit out

  2. NoFixedAddress

    The Back to The Caves Institute (TBTCI) are recommending the complete closure of all Coal and Gas fired power stations.

    Models show that this will initially employ 25 million people in the provisioning of food, clothing and shelter.

    The models further demonstrate that RE will more than adequately provide power for the 15% that survive and Australia’s Carbon footprint reduced to zero.

    Medals will be awarded.

  3. Rob

    That there isn’t a coordinated body of competent electrical and mechanical engineers – willing to refute and push back against the relentless barrage of “renewables” advocacy – clearly indicates the dumbed down state of the national dialogue on energy policy.
    How much more damage must we endure before reality overwhelms the dreamers?

  4. Rob:

    That there isn’t a coordinated body of competent electrical and mechanical engineers – willing to refute and push back against the relentless barrage of “renewables” advocacy – clearly indicates the dumbed down state of the national dialogue on energy policy

    I doubt the profession has been dumbed down, Rob, but I have the strangest feeling the organisations that represent these interests are now being run by timid time servers who have no intention of derailing the gravy train of renewables funding.
    When the system crash happens – as it must do – they will have taken their money and scuttled off thanking God it didn’t happen on their shift.

  5. BoyfromTottenham

    The Renewable Energy Target legislation provides a huge hidden subsidy to renewables generators and rooftop solar owners, paid for by an equally huge hidden tax on domestic and commercial electricity consumers. Take a look at the annual reports of wind and solar generators – the LRET subsidy has been as high as 100% of their revenue from selling their electricity into the grid. This means that they can bid at a far lower price (Even at $zero/Mw!) than coal and gas generators and still be profitable, making it appear that wind and solar generation is the cheapest form of power generation. But nobody mentions their dirty secret – the LRET subsidy. If renewables generators were made to declare their actual generation costs without the benefit of the LRET subsidy the truth would be exposed – renewables are just a huge subsidy-farming racket and can never replace traditional, reliable coal and gas generation. Just ask Warren Buffet – he figured it out years ago.

  6. Herodotus

    The Big Scam rolls on, and seems as impervious to common sense or reform as is the ABC.

  7. Ben

    The BZE twits receive plenty of encouragement, but none of it adds up.

    Until you read the ‘million jobs plan’ and realise it is all based on direct government spending, subsidies and targets.


  8. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    “Clean energy “could create a million jobs”

    No, it couldn’t and it definitely will not.

  9. Lee

    “Clean energy “could create a million jobs”

    Aside from being highly theoretical, do we want or even need a million people involved in any form of energy production, in a country with the population the size of Australia?
    It seems to me that having 4% of your population in such an industry is grossly inefficient and extremely wasteful.

  10. NoFixedAddress

    The Association of Independent Medical Magicians (AIMM) announced today that they see no problem conducting critical care operations in an environment of 5% RE availability.

    “Our advanced Hocus Pocus Surgery Techniques ™ don’t require any electricity”, said their spokesperson MM Catweazle, “and what we can do with Hot Rock Therapy ™ has to be experienced to be believed”.

  11. Ubique

    The BCA was captured by the Green-left long ago. As a business lobby group it’s not worth a cracker and actually spends its time undermining Australian industry and commerce.

  12. David Bidstrup

    Further to Rob’s comment, the IEAust, (I was a fellow once), believe this shit so there is little chance that they, on behalf of Engineers, will say anything contrary to the narrative.

  13. Ian of Brisbane

    Australia has billions of trees, each soaking up 3 to 4 kg of CO2 per year. These are never counted when calculating emissions as we all know if they were, Australia would be a net carbon sink.

  14. Graeme Weber

    ‘but there will be times when it contributes bugger all.’
    This is the real problem. Because it comes down to it does not matter how much you build of RE there will be times it does not meet the need.
    I lso keep saying Natural Gas is not the solution because every natural gas fioeld has CO2 which is vented at the first process point and NOT included in our emissions – go figure. The Yolla gas field has between 16-18% CO2.
    The whole thing is stupid really.

  15. There will be lots of jobs gleaning wheat grains in the fields.

    Pol Pot had a red hot go at this.

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