Government picking winners again + Steve Koonin on the climate caper + Energy realism

UPDATE: SEARCHING ON ENERGY REALISM IN AUSTRALIA  to see if our site has a web profile yet.  This turned up.

Australia, at Last, Has an Energy Realist at Its Helm  

Not quite what I was looking for!

Abbott is out, Malcolm Turnbull is back in, and one of the most carbon-intensive economies in the world has some sensible leadership at last as it embarks on an energy transition that is gaining momentum.

Australia has always gotten most of its electricity from coal-fired generation, and coal is one of our two biggest exports. Both traditions are at risk—indeed doomed in the long term —as the global energy economy shifts. Where Abbott clung to a status-quo outlook that refused to see the light, Turnbull is a realist who knows change is on the way.


Perry Williams excels himself in skirting around the simple fact that unreliable energy can displace coal but not replace it. Energy Realists of Australia note 21.7.

Bigger blackout risk with Yallourn shutdown, says AEMO

More than 40 projects totalling nearly 4,900MW completed registration or began exporting to the grid last year, according to AEMO, while a further 300 generation and storage projects totalling 55,000 MWs are proposed across the power grid.

Coal, which currently provides 70 per cent of electricity, will contribute less than a third of
supply by 2040 and is now widely expected to be forced out earlier than planned retirement dates as competition from renewables and carbon constraints render plants uneconomic.

Some things for the ‘you could not make it up’ file.

First of all, green hydrogen. A lazy 300Mil.

The Morrison government will change the investment mandate of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, directing it to make up to $300m available for a new Advancing Hydrogen Fund as part of the national hydrogen strategy.

Consider the second piece in this list.  Energy review extracts

In February of this year, the US Department of Energy released a study1 on the potential for hydrogen production using electrolysis instead of SMR. They estimated possible future hydrogen costs by (a) varying the price of electricity, which is by far the largest component of electrolysis costs, and (b) assuming 30%-60% declines in upfront electrolyzer capital costs as production increases

Bottom line: in the absence of a substantial carbon tax, further electricity and capital cost declines are required for green hydrogen costs to converge with fossil-fuel hydrogen costs2. In addition, to meaningfully impact energy consumption, existing turbines, engines, heating systems and other industrial equipment that now rely on natural gas would need to be replaced or upgraded to rely on hydrogen instead. That’s another real-life obstacle that hockey stick forecasts often fail to incorporate.

For the record, the full JP Morgan review is a devastating review of the prospects for the worldwide Green New Deal from a source that is generally as politically correct as can be.

2021energy review  As described by the Manhattan Contrarian.

JP Morgan Chase — it’s hard to find a more “woke” company than that one. Under celebrity CEO Jamie Dimon, JPM in its corporate pronouncements consistently positions itself at the most exquisitely correct end of the politically correct spectrum.

But reality can be tough. In its email of a couple of days ago, the Global Warming Policy Foundation links to JPM’s 2021 Annual Energy Paper. The Paper comes from JPM’s Asset and Wealth Management Group. The lead author is a guy named Michael Cembalest, who appears to have his ear right down on the ground of the global energy business. The bottom line is that all the talk about “deep de-carbonization” of the world economy any time soon is a ridiculous fantasy.

And a few dollars for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).

The fund focuses on supporting CCUS projects progress towards commercial operations. It will also support the development of processes that can transform CO2 to create economically viable products. These include but are not limited to the production of synthetic fuels, chemicals, minerals and other CO2 recycling and use activities.

CCS is a proven and versatile technology that can permanently cut emissions across energy generation, natural gas and hydrogen production, and heavy industries.

On the other hand, from the JP Morgan review (link above).

After 20 years of planning and conjecture, by the end of 2020 carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities stored just 0.1% of global CO2 emissions. Challenges include cost overruns, failure of bellwether projects (Kemper Mississippi), the US Dep’t of Energy withdrawing support for demonstration projects (FutureGen), cancellations in Europe, legal uncertainties about liability and a 20%-40% energy drag required to perform CCS in the first place. 

BonusUpdating the vegetable patch.  Potatoes and lettuce will have to be replaced in the UK by small, mustardy root vegetables and dandelion leaves as a warming climate means we cannot rely on traditional crops, Kew Gardens has said.

What about turnips and rutabagas?

Turnips and rutabagas are both members of the cabbage family, Brassicaceae. The rutabaga is thought to be an ancient cross between a turnip and a cabbage, and therefore a hybrid. Both of these root vegetables are a good source of complex carbohydrates for soups, stew, and casseroles. and have edible greens as well.

More pictures. Very attractive and diverse!


It is not the global climate system that’s broken, it’s the alleged “climate consensus” that is. That in a nutshell is a central message of physicist Steve Koonin’s new book, “Unsettled: what climate science tells us, what it doesn’t, and why it matters”, available in bookstores and on Kindle on May 4th.

One of the key contributions of Koonin’s book is its detailed account of how the climate change message gets distorted as it goes through successive filters as the research literature gets converted to assessment reports and report summaries which are then subject to alarmist and apocalyptic media coverage and politicians’ soundbites. It is up to scientists to put forward facts without an agenda or a pre-existing narrative, but it is not easy. Koonin says, “I should know, that used to be my job”. He finds it the height of hubris when scientists believe that they should exaggerate or even lie for a higher cause and there could be no higher cause than “saving the planet”. For a scientist with integrity, there is no dilemma between being effective and being honest.

Why is the science so poorly communicated to the public and policy makers? For Koonin, it is clear that distorted science serves the interests of diverse players, ranging from environmental NGOs, media, politicians, scientists and scientific organizations. The ideological corruption of the hard sciences has been remarked upon by others but Koonin covers it with telling examples arising from his own experiences over the years.

This entry was posted in Global warming and climate change policy, Rafe, Wasteful Spending. Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to Government picking winners again + Steve Koonin on the climate caper + Energy realism

  1. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    First of all, green hydrogen. A lazy 300Mil.

    Would be less of a waste of money to pile it up as cash then light it. At least then there wouldn’t be future costs to pay as well.

    Any one with a calculator and a reasonable grasp of comparative financial analysis will be able to show green hydrogen is a complete waste of time. The efficiency losses imposed by chemistry and physics are so onerous that you’d be better off generating electricity and using it instead. And I say that knowing just how stupid renewable electricity generation is: green hydrogen is even stupider. Not as silly as carbon capture is though. There is that.

  2. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    Dispense with the Americanisms, rutabagas are called swedes in Australia. Yum! In a lamb stew they are much better than turnips, as they add a slight tang which neatly offsets the sweetness of the lamb. They also hold together well, whereas turnips melt into sludge.

  3. tgs says:


    I was talking to an architect who is doing a lot of work in the industrial space and one of his clients at the moment is a major player in the service station space. I asked him if they had EV recharging on their radar as a requirement for future stations and he said no they thought EV was a fad but were seriously considering potential future demand for hydrogen.

    Obviously as rightly pointed out it can’t compete with traditional fossil fuels without significant market intervention.

    Anecdata not withstanding I found that quite interesting.

  4. Rafe Champion says:

    Thanks Bruce, I did feel a twinge of guilt!
    Checking “twinge” to be sure what it means since I hardly ever write it and often terms don’t quite mean what you thought.
    Define twinge. twinge synonyms, twinge pronunciation, twinge translation, English dictionary definition of twinge. n. 1. A sharp, sudden physical pain. See Synonyms at pain.
    I got a surprise with Quo vardis.

    Quo Vadis is a historic Soho restaurant and members’ club with a colourful past and a timeless allure.

    Formerly a brothel and a home to Karl Marx, the Great Dame of Dean Street continues to draw an eclectic and epicurean crowd, attracted to the good things in life.

    The restaurants serve seasonal, regional British fare, with a menu conjured up by Jeremy Lee and his team.

    An exuberant private members’ club, with two bars and its own restaurant, meets every requirement from dusk until dawn.

  5. Simple Simon says:

    Bruce of Newcastle says:
    May 11, 2021 at 11:19 am

    Dispense with the Americanisms, rutabagas are called swedes in Australia.

    I thought the photo looked familiar.

    And yes, dispense with the Americanisms.
    What is next, calling coriander ‘cilantro’?

  6. Simple Simon says:

    And yes, swedes are delicious. Essential in pasties, too. A delicacy that Americans know not.

  7. Roger says:

    Obviously as rightly pointed out it can’t compete with traditional fossil fuels without significant market intervention.

    I’ve seen estimates of $6bn – $30bn to get our EV charging infrastructure up to scratch.

    I suspect the tax payer is going to foot the bill.

    Effectively the poor to middling subsidising the well to do.

  8. Paul says:

    Green hydrogen, what a joke
    100% energy source, unreliables, burning peat or coal whatever, and the return is a product that provides only 30% return.
    Extracting hydrogen, processing it to extremely low temps for packaging, delivery etc and you get bugger all for that cost.
    Let alone the inherent risks of such a leaky volatile fuel

  9. Terry says:

    The Party of Big-Corporate Cronyism in competition consort with the Party of Big-Union Cronyism to see who can most completely “liberate” the nation’s wealth as their own, while driving its citizens into serfdom.

    Modern slavery, with the woke vote-herd encouraging demanding “investment” in yokes for themselves, their children, and their grandchildren.

    “You will own nothing and you will be happy” [or at least you’ll dare not complain about it, lest you be “forgotten” to the gulag.]

  10. Paul says:

    EV charging at a petrol station is more idiocy.
    Petrol stations don’t want EVs sitting in their forecourts for 45 minutes charging.
    That’s why councils have allocated parking bays.
    At the moment free charging. Won’t be hard to put a parking meter in to get the freeloaders to pay.

  11. egg_ says:

    Sounds like the UK is approaching peak stupid.

  12. duncanm says:

    Potatoes and lettuce will have to be replaced in the UK by small, mustardy root vegetables and dandelion leaves as a warming climate means we cannot rely on traditional crops, Kew Gardens has said.

    too right.. We’ve had too import all our spuds and lettuces due Australia’s warmer climate.

  13. stevem says:

    Green Hydrogen is an entirely sensible idea in a renewable energy world. In order to generate enough wind power for Australia we’d need to install more than 50 times our needs as production across Australia has been seen to drop as low as 1.8% of capacity in recent times for extended periods.
    When the wind does blow, we can recharge all the electric cars that have left their owners stranded and then put all the excess into hydrogen production. We’ll be able to travel the world in eco-friendly dirigibles using hydrogen as both propellant and for buoyancy.

  14. Rafe Champion says:

    Just observe the NO SMOKING signs inside the dirigibles!

  15. duncanm says:


    an excellent summary, with one minor correction – you forgot that the dirigibles will be “powered by unicorn farts”.

  16. mareeS says:

    How do these people think electrolysis works? It requires electricity, which is made by reliable, affordable electricity generation, not out of thin air. These idiots are now twisting themselves into ever-tighter loops to avoid coal and nuclear.

  17. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV) says:

    thank god the nanny state ie here to guide us with “national strategies”

  18. calli says:

    Will no one think of the radishes? And how about the leeks?

    On the upside, Brits can grow delicious olives and citrus in their gardens in the horrible new warmy climate. And figs and pomegranates and tomatoes. And pineapples and grapes.

    I’m still struggling to work out why lettuce will fail. Grows perfectly well here.

  19. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    At the moment free charging.

    Technically it isn’t since the council is paying for the electricity. Once they get tired of doing so the shock to the EV owners will be quite yummy.

    Huge price rise for vital tesla feature (13 Nov)

    One of the biggest selling points of a Tesla has gone up in smoke.

    Tesla recently announced it has increased the price for using its supercharger network to 52 cents per kW, a sharp rise of 24 per cent.

    The price hike makes it more expensive to fast-charge Teslas than to refill petrol-powered rivals.

    Analysis by electric car experts at shows it would cost $9.78 per 100km to run a Tesla Model 3 if it was charged exclusively on the brand’s Supercharger network.

    This compares poorly to petrol powered machines such as the BMW 330i at $8.00 per 100km and the hybrid-powered Lexus IS350h at $6.76.

    Charging Tesla drivers 52 c/kWh is of course what you have to do if you buy AEMO electricity, invest capital in a charger network, then expect a little profit on your investment at the end of the day. One wonders how loud the screeching will be when the government gets around to adding excise on top, for road maintenance. Excise is about 30% of the price of petrol, which if proportionately added to that electricity cost would bring it up to 74 c/kWh. Ouch.

  20. Rayvic says:

    Utter madness on the part of AEMO. They obviously live in fantasy land.
    Australians better start to get used to blackouts, industry disinvestment , job losses, and loss of mobility resulting from inability to recharge their electric cars.

  21. Crossie says:

    Effectively the poor to middling subsidising the well to do.

    This is what I object to most about the renewables. Those who can afford it go ahead with not just their money but government subsidies which are in effect everyone’s money, including the poor people who aren’t likely to ever be able to afford the moral superiority of green energy.

  22. Dr Faustus says:

    While you digest this expensive OPM-funded lunacy, let me remind you that it’s all happening despite the best efforts of Big Oil:

    How to spot the tricks Big Oil uses to subvert action on climate change

    One of their biggest tricks is to silence plucky climate activists and stop The Science getting out:

    In their campaign of silence they’re aided by the vast majority of the broadcast news media, which mostly proceeds as if the crisis didn’t exist and won’t even mention the words “climate change” when they report on floods, fires, and hurricanes in which there are scientifically established links to global warming.

    Big Oil: the most ineffectual influencers of all time.

  23. egg_ says:

    I’m still struggling to work out why lettuce will fail. Grows perfectly well here.

    A great cash crop on the Northern Tablelands.

    Smells like woke bulldust.

  24. Riversutra says:

    Will no one think of the radishes? And how about the leeks?

    the leaks??

    Just observe the NO SMOKING signs inside the dirigibles!

    oh, the humanity!

  25. Kneel says:

    “I’m still struggling to work out why lettuce will fail. Grows perfectly well here.”

    They like water.
    Drought is the “new normal”, remember?
    Perth is already a ghost city, right?
    Warragamba Dam hasn’t been full for 20 years, right?
    Oh wait…

  26. duncanm says:

    oh, the humanity huge manatee!


  27. Lizzie says:

    Hydrogen is not an energy source. It is a store for energy, like a battery. It also takes lots and lots of electricity to extract hydrogen from chloride (water). Hydrogen does not occur on its own in nature. It is very expensive to extract it and uses a lot of energy to do so.

  28. rickw says:

    I accidentally did a “cusp of de-industrialisation” tour over the last two weeks, Altona, Yallourn, Longford.

    By the dim light of burning cow dung I’ll be able to recount these halcyon days to the grandkids.

  29. rickw says:

    EV charging at a petrol station is more idiocy.
    Petrol stations don’t want EVs sitting in their forecourts for 45 minutes charging.

    Hydrocarbon vapours plus electrical ignition sources. You can tell these people are experts.

  30. Herodotus says:

    Too much Perry-Perry was one of the flavours that resulted in my monthly subscription dollars to The Australian being re-allocated to other needs.

  31. RobK says:

    Last time the governments tipped in some $13 million on a trial.
    Perth Fuel Cell Bus Trial Summary of Achievement
    2004-2007 June 2008.

    5 Conclusions & looking to the future
    The development and widespread adoption of sustainable transport technologies will be essential in addressing the threat of diminishing fossil fuel supplies and reducing the transport sector’s greenhouse gas emissions. The Perth EcoBus trial has helped in assessing the potential of hydrogen to be part of a sustainable fuel mix in the medium to long term.
    All participants agreed that the EcoBuses had performed beyond expectations and the project successfully demonstrated that hydrogen is a technically viable fuel, and that fuel cell technology is a potential option for future return to fleet public transport. The CUTE/ECTOS trials have delivered the most extensive set of operational data for fuel cell vehicles and refuelling infrastructure – operated under real world conditions – compiled so far. This has enabled on road performance and reliability comparisons between current generation fuel cell buses and conventional internal combustion engine buses, and these comparisons have shown where technical improvements are needed for hydrogen bus technologies and hydrogen production to become cost competitive.
    The information collected during this trial has, through the CUTE and HyFLEET:CUTE partnerships, assisted bus and fuel cell engine manufacturers to further develop fuel cell technology. For example, Daimler and other fuel cell bus suppliers are developing several improvements for the next generation of hydrogen fuel cell buses. These improvements include higher pressure hydrogen storage (increased from 350bar to 700 bar), wheel hub motors, electrically powered auxiliary systems, fewer fuel cells with greater power density and a hybridised drive train. These improvements offer efficiency gains in the order of 50% over the fuel cell buses used in the Perth EcoBus trial.
    A summary of the key findings from the trial are listed below:
    • The operations of the EcoBuses exceeded expectations. They travelled nearly 260,000 kilometres, consumed nearly 47 tonnes of hydrogen and carried more than 325,000 passengers.
    • While the EcoBuses performed well, they were designed for reliability/availability and not necessarily efficiency. Improvements to the buses including utilising a hybrid drive train, eliminating the design requirement for the fuel cells to always produce a minimum current, changing the auxiliary system and reducing the weight of the would increase efficiency significantly.
    • The refuelling technology did not match the performance of the buses. A significant reason for buses not operating was due to failures in the refuelling stations. This was also a problem for a number of trials in the CUTE program.
    • The life cycle analysis (LCA) found that the hydrogen production system was crucial in determining the extent to which global warming potential and other environmental criteria
    Perth Fuel Cell Bus Trial 2004-2007
    June 2008

    are improved. Overall, the EcoBuses had a GWP similar to the diesel buses (but less than CNG) with a very un-optimised system.
    • The cost benefit analysis (CBA) found that diesel buses were the least expensive over a fifteen year operating life, primarily due to their lower capital costs and fuel cost. The CBA noted that the price gap between conventional fuels and hydrogen will close as the externalities of road transport sector are adequately internalised.
    • The public awareness and perception study found there was widespread support for the introduction of hydrogen fuel cell buses, although many people would like to be better informed. Respondent’s perceptions of hydrogen were slightly more positive after the trial than before, with support derived from perceived environmental benefits
    The key issues and areas of learning that emerged from the trial were:
    • While there was general support for the trial, the significant (and time consuming) regulatory challenges suggest that there was a lack of understanding of hydrogen and its benefits.
    • Contractual meant there were limitations in the data collection methodology. It is recommended that any future trials determine the nature of the data collection early in the planning process.
    • The nature of the contracts and warranties with suppliers provided some certainty for the State Government regarding price, and therefore lowered risk. The downside was that there were limited opportunities for local suppliers and industries to participate in the trial and develop their understanding of hydrogen and its applications. It is therefore recommended that any future trials build in opportunities for local industry participation.
    • The trial emphasised the importance of developing renewable electricity generation technologies for the production of hydrogen. Any future trials should seriously explore renewably produced hydrogen.
    • The pursuit of a follow up trial in Perth would enable the State Government to take advantage of these international partnerships, as well as capitalise on the significant learning and expertise gained from the trial.
    Addressing the challenges associated with hydrogen fuelled fleet based transport will be a huge task. However, by taking the lessons learnt from the EcoBus trial and exploring opportunities for a trial of next generation fuel cell buses, Western Australia has contributed to global efforts to address hydrogen related challenges, and ensure a sustainable transport energy future.


  32. Rafe Champion says:

    Rob I gather it was expensive and inconvenient, and it was not green, so they have to get massive amounts of green energy….BTW currently WA is running with 4.5% of electricity from RE.
    Make that 3%.

  33. Seza says:

    Simple Simon,
    You have met the wrong pieman. The northern states, particularly Michigan, make lovely Cornish-style pasties.

  34. egg_ says:

    The northern states, particularly Michigan, make lovely Cornish-style pasties.

    They were eating pasties on American Pickers recently, one of the guys (Mike) thought they were called “vegetable rolls” IIRC (like “eggroll” for an omelette?).

  35. RobK says:

    From the link above:

    The high initial cost of the EcoBuses meant that they could not compete financially with existing fossil fuel technologies, with the experimental nature of the technologies seeing them cost around four times that of a diesel bus. Therefore the CBA (Cost Benefit Analysis)was undertaken assuming that the buses, including fuel cells, were produced under conditions of economies of scale and that fully developed fuel infrastructure for the provision of hydrogen already existed. Despite the large difference between the assumed and the real cost, this was considered to be a reasonable assumption as the three Perth buses were part of a limited number of experimental buses that were never intended to be commercially produced, and did not reflect what could be expected of a mass-produced fuel cell bus.
    The CBA looked at a range of scenarios to observe the effect of different economic conditions such as escalating fossil fuel prices and higher costs attributed to global warming potential. The CBA used the costs shown in Table 3.5, which were derived from a review of the current literature at the time.

    As shown in Figure 3.8, the diesel buses were the least expensive over the fifteen year operating life of the buses, primarily due to their lower capital costs and fuel cost. Two options are shown for the fuel cell bus, one where the hydrogen was derived though steam reforming of methane (SMR) and the second where the hydrogen was produced through electrolysis of water and renewable electricity from wind turbines. The fuel cell bus with a renewable source of hydrogen was the most expensive primarily due to higher fuel costs.
    The CBA found that ‘overall, (the EcoBuses) would appear to offer substantial societal benefits where they operate in cities with high population concentrations and where high levels of air pollution from the transport sector impact negatively on human health. For cities such as Perth, the benefits are less marked’ (Owen & Cockroft 2006, p30).

    Even after assuming discounts for scale etc it couldn’t stack up.
    There’s still a long way to go. Im not sure anyone reads these reports critically.

  36. RobK says:

    My bolding

  37. RobK says:

    The fuel cell bus with a renewable source of hydrogen was the most expensive primarily due to higher fuel costs.
    Let’s go for that one.

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