The power of coal in Germany and South Australia

DANG WIND DROUGHTS!   The Germans closed down some coal plants and then fired them up again eight days later.

German coal closed down – for 8 days

But they press on with the Energiewende, the green energy transition.

Germany has ambitious plans. All nuclear power plants must close by 2022: Brokdorf 1400MW will close at the end of 2021, Emsland 1329MW will close at the end of 2022, Grohnde 1360MW will close at the end of 2021, Philippsburg-2 1402MW will close at the end of 2019, Neckarwestheim-2 1310MW will close at the end of 2022, Isar-2 1410MW will close at the end of 2022, Gundremmingen -C 1244MW will close at the end of 2021. A total of 10GW will be taken from the electricity grid.

That timetable is reported in a handy summary of the disasters in waiting when electric cars hit the German roads in numbers.

Dutch piece on absurdity of EU green transtition

Just to give you an idea: as soon as 1 battery car is connected to a 350kW fast charger, the electricity grid is suddenly charged with an amount of power equal to that of 875 homes together. Since solar and wind are not constant energy sources that can be called up 24 hours, that power will have to come from elsewhere. With a great deal of subsidy, the Netherlands has invested heavily in biomass and converted coal-fired power stations that largely burn wood. But it turns out to be a costly blunder on the part of the Rutte government, because most wood-fired power stations will have to close again. 

More than 60% of this “sustainable” energy in the Netherlands is produced in 372 biomass plants. And another 153 are planned. Much of the wood comes from primeval forests of the Baltic states and countries around the Carpathians, which are sold by corrupt governments. 

The Germans are short of power already when the wind drops so the prospect of electricity-guzzling cars lining up for the limited supply in future is not pretty.

The same piece describes the decay of the French nuclear industry, a monument to the possibilities of nuclear power but seriously ageing and not being replaced (WTF?)

France has the most nuclear power plants in the world, most of which are obsolete. It has been decided to apply caulk to the 40-year-old material and to extend the lifespan by 10 years to 50 years. The risk of a nuclear disaster is increasing and the result is that much more maintenance must be carried out. In October 2019, 22 of the 58 French nuclear power plants were shut down due to long-term maintenance.

Because several coal-fired power stations have now been closed, the risk of power shortages in Europe has increased considerably, especially in the winter cold. 


Looking at the power situation in SA and Victoria at breakfast and dinnertime it appears that hot meals in the morning and evening depend heavily on coal power in Victoria with assistance from Tasmania. The little island state is not going to be the battery of the nation but it produces a handy surplus oftentimes to help out SA via Victoria. The picture this morning shows the flow from Victora to SA and the power coming into Victoria from Tasmania. Power is also flowing from NSW to Vic and that is most unusual because most of  the time NSW is leaning on Qld and to a lesser extent, Victoria.

On a good wind day on the mainland there is a flow of power to Tasmania to save on hydro and maintain the level of the dams in anticipation of rain droughts.

Demonstrating the lunacy of closing coal plants, have a look the the persistence of coal power on the low wind days like this morning when Victoria is propping up SA at  breakfast time.



At the same time, the picture in SA shows that they were running on local gas and power from Victoria.

So the South Australians will depend on fossil fuels for hot meals for a long time to come, regardless of the amount of installed RE capacity but they will do a power of damage to the stability of the grid in the meantime.


Pumped hydro in Hunter

Water would be pumped from the void to the top of the mountain. Picture: Simon McCarthy

One of Australia’s oldest open-cut pits could be transformed into a 250 megawatt pumped hydro project by 2027 as part of an ambitious $450 million renewable energy project in the Upper Hunter.

AGL and Idemitsu Australia Resources are nearing the compilation of a two-year preliminary feasibility study for the project that would utilise a mining void on the Muswellbrook Coal site adjacent to Bells Mountain.

“The Bells Mountain project offers us the opportunity to use an existing reservoir from the open cut coal mine that we can repurpose,” AGL senior manager, power development Brenton Farr told the Newcastle Herald.

“So far the findings are positive and we are assessing the results that we have got. We expect the full preliminary feasibility study to be completed in the next month.”

Believe it when you see it:)

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15 Responses to The power of coal in Germany and South Australia

  1. Roger says:

    Because several coal-fired power stations have now been closed, the risk of power shortages in Europe has increased considerably, especially in the winter cold.

    Not a problem; French politicians have just voted to double their fleet of wind turbines.

    There’ll soon be c. 16 000 of the things dotted around that once beautiful landscape.

  2. Rafe Champion says:

    Roger do you have a source for that? I heard it was on the cards but I don’t have a link.

    BTW one of my colleagues is documenting the warming and drying effect downwind of windfarms, due to the turbulence they create by disrupting the laminar flow of the wind.

  3. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV) says:

    When they say net zero, they refer to industry, ie zero industry. Communist china is grinning from ear to ear.

  4. Herodotus says:

    So many western countries are wende-ing their way down the path to financial and energy disaster, aided by non-stop propaganda.
    There are so many catastrophists sending the wrong messages, as they have been for decades, that it’s becoming harder if not impossible to turn the ship.
    A large display ad in the Weekend Australian today by the Climate Study Group, tries to present some counter-info. Good luck with that.

  5. Herodotus says:

    I’ll believe the alarmists are genuinely supportive of cleaner energy when they give the green light to nuclear – and new hydro – say up at Waterfall Way, down the escarpment from Dorrigo to Bellingen. Plenty of water, plenty of fall for the headstocks.
    Until then it’s a convincing case that they are all control freaks and not at all interested in maintaining successful western civilisation.

  6. Roger says:

    I can’t find my original source, Rafe, but there’s this, which reports it as more than doubling the number of turbines by 2028.

  7. Roger says:

    Problems with link.

    Here it is:

    Your search engine ought to get you there with a few key words.

  8. Muddy says:

    Surely the answer is to construct a giant fan in front of each wind turbine to negate the wind irregularities?

  9. Muddy says:

    Call the project Loyal Windman.

  10. Mango Man says:

    From where I sit, the Yallourn decision by Energy Australia is a warning. Renewables are crushing the economies of base load coal and it would appear this is accelerating. Very little of the coal plant is viable at lower than 100% load factors for any sustained period. Which means that we are running at high speed on a track that is incomplete. The Feds won’t act. NSW is driving the train and Vic is happy to go with the ride – not sure Qld has any plan of any kind but rather bets both ways.
    Tony Abbott and everyone since allowed the gas market to leak offshore, so gas firming will be both expensive and limited by Bass Strait supply decline (Narrabri, Beetaloo, etc are very long shots).
    Right now I’d be selling any stock in Australia with a big energy dependency. (If I hadn’t already.)

  11. lotocoti says:

    The good news is Offshore Wind can be a nice little earner.

  12. Aynsley Kellow says:

    Rafe: ‘Demonstrating the lunacy of closing coal plants in Tasmania’. We didn’t have any to close, though there was a plan to convert Bell Bay from oil to cola back in the day. Do you mean gas – or did you mean Victoria?

  13. Aynsley Kellow says:

    Unfortunate transposition! Coal, not cola!

  14. Rex Anger says:

    Unfortunate transposition! Coal, not cola!

    Welp, if you atomised it properly and got the fuel:air mixture just right, I reckon you could burn cola.

    It wouldn’t burn well. But it would burn…

  15. Aynsley Kellow says:

    Correct Rex.
    I recall working briefly as a science tech at a high school for a few hours a week while at university. One experiment I set up involved creating aerosols of common flour in a can with a candle in it and blowing the lid off. Good way of showing the flammability (or explosive potential) of seemingly safe substances. Of course, flour millers showed this more dramatically historically with the odd explosion, and coal miners know that coal dust doesn’t have to be in a furnace to burn well.
    So, yes – heated cola probably contains enough sugar to burn. But why just not go for the sugar or the flour. It would be renewable energy, of course.

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