Jo Nova- The Price of Renewable Energy in Australia


Nearly a billion dollars for electricity for just one day — $500 per family

The Electro-pyre conflagration escalates.

The cost of electricity on Thursday in two states of Australia reached a tally of $932 million dollars for a single day of electricity. Thanks to David Bidstrup on Catallaxy for calculating it.

As Bruce of Newcastle says ““Three days and you could buy a HELE plant with the money wasted.” That’s a power plant that could last 70 years, and provide electricity at under $50/MW. (Forget all the high charges for 30 years to pay of the capital (in red below), we could just buy the damn thing outright, paid off in full from day one.)

Cost of Coal plants, lifetime, USA. Institute for Energy Research (IER):

Cost of old coal plants in the USA. From the report by Stacy and Taylor, of the Institute for Energy Research (IER)

Burned at the stake: $500 per family

In Victoria, per capita, that means it cost $110 for one day’s electricity. For South Australians, Thursday’s electricity bill was $140 per person. (So each household of four just effectively lost $565.) In both these states those charges will presumably be paid in future price rises, shared unevenly between subsidized solar users and suffering non-solar hostages. The costs will be buried such that duped householders will not be aware of what happened. Coles and Woolworths will have to add a few cents to everything to cover their bills, and the government will have to cut services or increase taxes. No one will know how many jobs are not offered or opportunities lost. This is the road to Venezuela.

If Hazelwood had still been open, the whole bidstack would have changed, quite probably saving electricity consumers in those two states hundreds of dollars. Eight million Australians could have had a weekend away, gone to a ball, or bought brand new fishing gear. And this is just one single day of electricity. If Liddell closes, things will get worse, no matter how much unreliable not-there-when-you-need-it capacity we add to the system. Indeed, the more fairy capacity we add, the worse it gets. NSW will soon join the SA-Vic club.

This is what happens when an electricity grid is run by kindergarten arts graduates who struggle with numbers bigger than two.

This is utterly and completely a renewables fail

The socialist Labor-Greens are already trying to blame it on coal, but we ran coal plants for decades without these disasters. Right now, no one is investing in coal because of bipartisan stupidity. What company would pay the maintenance fees on infrastructure so hated by the political class? The coal plants are being run into the ground. Maintenance is even being delayed to keep the plants running through peaks like this.

No country on Earth with lots of renewables has cheap electricity. How many times do I have to repeat it? This is my mantra for 2019.

In Australia when we had mainly coal and no renewables our electricity was cheap and reliable. Now we are still mainly coal, but all it takes is a poisonous small infiltration of subsidized unreliable renewables to destroy the former economic incentives, the whole market, the system: our lifestyle.

The Liberal Party needs to grow a spine

This is surely a crisis. As long as the Liberals are a Tweedledum version of the Labor party, they can’t solve this and deserve to lose. New renewables installations must be stopped immediately — put on hold indefinitely — until they no longer need forced subsidies, until the RET is gone, the carbon taxes, the hidden emissions trading scheme and we have a proper free market. Then new renewables can be permitted to compete with all generation alternatives, though all new generators will also have to be responsible for paying for extra transmission lines, back up batteries, and any other frequency stabilization required. On net a generator must be able to guarantee that when the people call on it, it can provide, lets say, 80% of total nameplate capacity. When that day comes (thirty, fifty, years from now or maybe never) I will be happy to support renewables. Until then, we are global patsies handing over glorious profits to energy giants, renewables companies, Chinese manufacturers, and large financial institutions.

Lets have a plebescite: How many Australians would rather have a weekend away with their family or make the world 0.00 degrees cooler in 100 years in a symbolic display to assuage the Gods of  Storms?

Jo Nova: Wind Turbines New Apex Predator

Everything that the environmentalists and Greens demand that we have to do to “save the environment” just does the opposite.

From joannenovaova.com.au

Wind Turbines are new top predator in the ecosystem

Wind turbines either kill or scare away three quarters of buzzards, hawks and kites at three sites in India. That makes them the new “top predator” in the ecosystem according to new research.  Perhaps not the niche that Greens were expecting wind farms to occupy.

It’s not all bad news though, fan-throated lizards are pretty happy about not being dinner.

h/t GWPF

75% of Buzzards Vote For Coal Power

Lizards vote for wind.

Wind farms are the ‘new apex predators’: Blades kill off 75% of buzzards, hawks and kites that live nearby, study shows

Harry Pettit for Daily Mail Online

  • Predatory bird numbers are four times higher in areas away from wind turbines
  • This is having a devastating ’ripple effect’ across the food chain
  • It means numbers of certain small animals are growing unchecked

Wind turbines are the world’s new ‘apex predators’, wiping out buzzards, hawks and other carnivorous birds at the top of the food chain, say scientists. A study of wind farms in India found that predatory bird numbers drop by three quarters in areas around the turbines. This is having a ‘ripple effect’ across the food chain, with small mammals and reptiles adjusting their behaviour as their natural predators disappear from the skies.

Study coauthor Professor Maria Thaker said:
‘Every time a top predator is removed or added, unexpected effects trickle through the ecosystem. What is actually happening here is the wind-turbines are akin to adding a top predator to the ecosystem.’

From the abstract:

The cascading effects of wind turbines on lizards include changes in behaviour, physiology and morphology that reflect a combination of predator release and density-dependent competition. By adding an effective trophic level to the top of food webs, we find that wind farms have emerging impacts that are greatly underestimated. There is thus a strong need for an ecosystem-wide view when aligning green-energy goals with environment protection.

300,000 wind turbines too late.

How To Reverse Prosperity In A Decade

From Jo Nova- the truth about “free power from nature”

Electricity prices fell for forty years in Australia, then renewables came…

Electricity prices declined for forty years. Obviously that had to stop.

Here’s is the last 65 years of Australian electricity prices — indexed and adjusted for inflation. During the coal boom, Australian electricity prices declined decade after decade.  As renewables and national energy bureaucracies grew, so did the price of electricity. Must be a coincidence…

Today all the hard-won masterful efficiency gains of the fifties, sixties and seventies have effectively been reversed in full.

Indexed Real Consumer Electricity Prices, 1955-2017. Graph.

Indexed Real Consumer Electricity Prices, Australia, 1955-2017.

For most of the 20th Century the Australian grid was hotch potch of separate state grids and mini grids. (South Australia was only connected in 1990). In 1998 the NEM (National Energy Market) began, a feat that finally made bad management possible on a large scale. Though after decades of efficiency gains, Australians would have to wait years to see new higher “world leading” prices. For the first years of the NEM prices stayed around $30/MWh.

But sooner or later  a national system is a sitting duck for one small mind to come along and truly muck things up.

Please spread this graph far and wide.

Thanks to a Dr Michael Crawford who did the original, excellent graph.

Jo Nova: “Free Energy” Costs Too Much

Jo Nova writes:

The Mystery: The most resource rich nation on Earth has the highest electricity prices?!

Ask anyone and get confused: It’s poles and wires, gaming of the system by capitalist pigs, excessive taxes, privatization, and record gas prices. The CleanEnergy Council  tells us that Australia has one of the longest electricity networks in the world — we need lots of poles! And so we do. But once upon a time Australia had the cheapest electricity in the world and we still had lots of poles. Not only were miles of poles and wires, there were also capitalist pigs, excessive taxes, and privatized generators. There were wild gas price spikes too, (during which we probably just burned more coal).

Evidently, something else has changed. Something seismic that wiped out all the bids below $50/MWh. 

Perhaps it has something to do with the 2,106 turbines in 79 wind farms that on random windy days might make 4,325MW that didn’t exist in Australia in 1999 when electricity was cheap and our total national wind power was 2.3 megawatts?

Another clue might be the 1.8 million new solar PV installations, which theoretically generate 7 gigawatts of electricity at noon on cloudless days if all the panels have been cleaned. Back in 2007, we had 14MW.

But of course, cause and effect are devilishly difficult. The one thing we know for sure is that even though sunlight and moving air is free, there is no country on Earth with lots of solar and wind power and cheap electricity.

Any day now, renewables are going to make electricity cheap, but when that happens, it’ll be a world first.

See the graph: the more renewables we have the more we pay…

Cost of electricity, countries, graph, renewables capacity.

….

Source: Paul Homewood at NotalotofpeopleKnowthat inspired graphs by Johnathon Drake, and Willis Eschenbach, and Dave Rutledge, similar to this one. This particular graph came via Judith Sloan in The Australian, though I can’t seem to find the exact link.

 We’re high achievers price-wise

Australia is far above the trend-line.  Our electricity is even more expensive than it should be for the amount of renewables we have. At a guess this might be because other nations have more “hydro” in their renewable mix and less wind and solar.  Or they have access to nuclear power (like all the EU countries). It may be made worse by the way our energy markets are managed, the profusion of bureaucracies, the subsidies and rebates, the renewable energy target, or the overlapping state and federal green aims. It also may be that in our smaller market we have a few big players gaming a volatile, complicated market. Stability may cost more here, due to the fragility of our network.

Don’t blame wind and solar… oh, wait

To isolate the effect, this graph from Euan Mearns takes out the “hydropower” and biomass aspect and just looks at wind and solar. Spot the trend:

(Note that “Aust” means Austria, not Australia)

Europe, renewables, countries, cost of electricity, graph.

Figure 1 The Y-axis shows residential electricity prices for the second half of 2014 from Eurostat. The X-axis installed wind + solar capacity for 2014 as reported in the 2015 BP statistical review normalised to W per capita using population data for 2014 as reported by the UN.

As Euarn Mearns says, there’s more than one variable at work here, but the inescapable conclusion is the countries with the highest levels of renewables pay the highest prices.    h/t Don B.

Is that another 10 cent price rise coming?

According to wikipedia our wind power capacity is set rise 250% or something crazy (I’m skeptical):

From wiki wind power in Australia–  As of May 2017 a further 12328 MW of capacity was proposed or committed.[2] “AEMO Planning and Forecasting – General Information Page”. Retrieved 7 June 2017.

For a population of 24 million that means we would add another 500 watts/capita. Eyeballing the trendline in the graph,  prices would rise by another 10c/KWhr. (Don’t try to unpack the x and y units exactly and calculate it. That’s another story.)

Say it again: there is no country on Earth with lots of solar and wind power and cheap electricity.

REFERENCES

Moran, Alan (2017) The Finkel Report’s Recommendations on the Future Security of the National Electricity Market:
Impacts on the Australian Economy and Australian Consumers, Regulation Economics.

Solar Power in Germany- Awesome

Jo Nova writes about the awesome results of solar power in Germany- 10 hours of sunshine for the whole month, and even that at a very low angle above the horizon. They have 40 GW of installed solar PV (in theory, half their total power requirements) but when the sun don’t shine you get no power.

German solar: 10 hours of sun in December makes 40 Gigawatts of nothing

From Pierre Gosselin at No Tricks Zone:

Germany needs 80GW of electricity. It has 40GW of installed solar PV.

See the graph: The red line is what the country used, and the orange bumps are the solar contribution.

Clearly, solar power will take over the world.

Solar Energy, Germany, December 2017

In December, Germany got ten hours of sunlight. That’s not a daily figure, that’s the whole month. So in summer on a sunny day, solar PV can make half the electricity the nation needs for lunch. In winter, almost nothing. From fifty percent, to five percent.

Imagine what kind of havoc this kind of energy flux can do. Not one piece of baseload capital equipment can be retired, despite the fact that half of it is randomly unprofitable depending on cloud cover. Solar PV eats away the low cost competitive advantage. Capital sits there unused, spinning on standby, while wages, interest, and other costs keep accruing. So hapless baseload suppliers charge more for the hours that they do run, making electricity more expensive.

They just need batteries with three months supply. It will be fine once Germany turns the state of Thuringia into a redox unit.

Read about it:  Dark Days For German Solar Power, Country Saw Only 10 Hours Of Sun In All Of December!

It’s rare for Germans to botch up an engineering task on quite this scale.

You Can’t Do Heavy Industry On Renewables

Maybe the Green-Left Collective is starting to wake up to the fact that even in a post-truth age, you can’t just pretend that wind and solar can replace thermal power without affecting the whole economy.

 

Jo Nova writes:

Matt Howell, the CEO of Tomago Aluminium Smelter, told a few home truths on ABC radio Monday.

To paraphrase in my own words:

1. Aluminium Smelters gobble electrons for breakfast. His smelter uses 10% of  the entire electricity supply of the most populous state in Australia (NSW).

2. If power goes out without warning for more than three hours, the smelter pot lines freeze, permanently. The company goes to the wall.

3. The largest battery in the world would keep their smelter going for all of 8 minutes. There is a good reason there are no solar or wind powered aluminium smelters anywhere in the world.

4. The government can ‘t let the market solve anything whilst it is simultaneously destroying the free market by propping up the market failures at the same time.

5. Electricity pricing has suddenly gotveryugly. Their electricity bill may now be subject to price spikes where it could cost them $4 million just to keep one pot line running during that spike. It is as if suddenly gas stations only sold $400 per Litre petrol. (Which would be$1800/per gallon).  What he doesn’t say, but which logically follows from that, is thatheavy industry in most of Australia can no longer get reliable electricity at an affordable price, even with forward contracts. Cry, scream, run with your factory.

6. In Australia, if we achieve “zero coal” we will also achieve “zero heavy manufacturing”.

7. If we want heavy industry, we need a HELE Coal plant. There are hundreds being built around the world, and we are selling our coal to them. How crazy are we?

Howell makes some great points. It’s good to see an ABC presenter willing to let the evil capitalists speak. Well done Matt Wordsworth. I found something worth listening to on the ABC this year.

 

Read the rest of the article, including the link to the interview here