You have to laugh at the irony. In order to make up for South Australia’s misguided renewable energy policy which has been the cause of numerous blackouts, 9 diesel generators costing $111mn will use 80,000 litres of diesel per hour to keep the lights on during power shortages. Had the Port Augusta coal fired plant not been ceremoniously dynamited as a virtue signaling exercise, South Australian tax payers would be $100mn better off as a start. Energy Plan Implementation ED Sam Crafter said after the initial 13-month period, there was an option to extend the lease for a further 12 months. There also was an option to walk away at the end of 25 months. So if South Australia chooses to extend the lease of the generators for another 12 months the cost won’t be included in the $111m. It is hard not to laugh at the irony of governments who make such appalling choices and cover up their mistakes by stealing more from taxpayers who they never properly showed costings to in the first place. Is it any wonder South Australia has the highest energy costs in the world, the highest unemployment rate in the country and the slowest growth. Don’t be surprised if Premier Jay Weatherill sees this as a fair price to pay to save the planet, even if South Australia is crushed in the process.
As far as curioisity on any subject goes if 19 out of 20 agreed and one dissented wouldn’t you wish to work out why the lone body thought that way? Is he or she mad? On what grounds? Do we simply suck up the consensus and accept it? That’s worked well over time. Well the Chinese Meteorogical Administration has dropped a bombshell on the warmists confirming there has been no statistically significant warming since 1998. The CMA put forward the following analysis,
“In preparing the new database…the CMA say they addressed a number of problems with other surface temperature databases, in particular the relatively poor coverage of stations across Antarctica, Africa, South America, and Asia. They note that the IPCC AR5 report concluded that the warming trends in these regions are associated with a lower confidence level. They also improved the absence of early period stations, especially before 1940….The researchers find very clear evidence for the recent warming hiatus. Their results show linear trends of 0.104 °C per decade, 0.247 °C per decade and 0.098 °C per decade for the three periods, respectively. The trends were statistically significant except for the period 1998–2014, the period that is also known as the ‘‘warming hiatus”.
I would imagine Premier Xi will listen to his internal CMA over others when setting climate abatement policy. Maybe 2030 becomes 2040 or later…so why are so many governments engaged in group think where they clearly fail to heed reality? Perhaps they are so knee deep in their own poor policy decision making that they don’t want to admit they’ve acted in haste. South Australia and Tesla anyone?
I almost fell over backwards when I saw the headline although it was three words too long to be honest. The Guardian convulsed and regurgitated politics’ commander in chief virtue signaler and gave a backhanded compliment to Trump for keeping a promise. Ironically this was the first Trudeau policy that actually made sense to me. Everything else from the ridiculous Bill M-103, taxing Canadians on almost everything conceivable, calling for Friday off for parliamentarians, the $370mn Bombardier grant which ended up lining the board’s pockets, talking up his record of 65% of judges being female which would help influence (all judges should be impartial) the outcome of victims of sexual violence etc shows him up for identity taking precedence over substance. Yet The Guardian wrote:
“when it comes to the defining issue of our day, climate change, he’s a brother to the old orange guy…Trudeau says all the right things, over and over. He’s got no Scott Pruitts in his cabinet: everyone who works for him says the right things…But those words are meaningless if you keep digging up more carbon and selling it to people to burn, and that’s exactly what Trudeau is doing. He’s hard at work pushing for new pipelines through Canada and the US to carry yet more oil out of Alberta’s tar sands, which is one of the greatest climate disasters on the planet…Last month, speaking at a Houston petroleum industry gathering, he got a standing ovation from the oilmen for saying: “No country would find 173bn barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there.”
In what must mark the first time Trudeau has done something sensible, the climate alarmists are up in arms. “The sell out!”, they cry. Perhaps Trudeau realizes that virtue signaling when the global economy is on the ropes mustn’t take place of pragmatism. We have too many examples of the push for renewables backfiring where economies are suffering due to blackouts causing some companies to relocate to more stable grids. South Australia is a perfect example of green madness gone wrong. It is home to the highest unemployment, slowest growth and most expensive electricity prices in the country.
We should not forget Trudeau has a carbon tax on tomato farmers in Canada. The Conservatives argued that the carbon emissions to ship cheaper Mexican tomatoes exempt from the tax is factor fold higher than the savings squeezed out of local producers.
We’ve seen Trudeau’s popularity sink in recent months with polls suggesting he’d be thumped in the 2020 election. Losing the endorsement of a liberal rag like The Guardian is about as horrid a testimonial there is possible. What is worse is the tacit admission that as much as they hate Trump he hasn’t lied on his promises to ditch climate change targets. The Guardian continued,
“Trump is a creep and a danger and unpleasant to look at, but at least he’s not a stunning hypocrite.”
However not even our selfie loving PM Turnbull escaped the paper’s lashing,
“Canada’s got company in this scam. Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull is supposed to be more sensitive than his predecessor, a Trump-like blowhard. When he signed on his nation to the Paris climate accords, he said: “It is clear the agreement was a watershed, a turning point and the adoption of a comprehensive strategy has galvanised the international community and spurred on global action…Which is a fine thing to say – or would be, if your government wasn’t backing plans for the largest coal mine on Earth. That single mine, in a country of 24 million people, will produce 362% of the annual carbon emissions that everyone in the Philippines produces in the course of a year. It is obviously, mathematically and morally absurd.”
As livid as the climate alarmists may be they must understand the value of climate summits is pointless because harshening economic realities mean people are worried about their futures today not some inaccurate forecast on how we’re all doomed. As I say to all climate alarmists – what are you doing personally in your day-to-day consumption to offset climate Armageddon? The answer invariably is next to nothing. They’re probably among the 50,000 hypocritical pilgrims belching greenhouse gases from the hundreds of 777s flying them to the next climate junket to tell us to run for our lives. Just be sure to prepare an extra bed for Leo DiCaprio’s eyebrow technician.
Is it any wonder AGL has scrapped its plans to build a 200-400MW gas-fired plant in South Australia (SA). Once again SA Premier Jay Weatherill’s complete failure to roll out sensible and sustainable energy policy is on full display. Instead of admitting his plans have caused SA to have the country’s most expensive, yet most unreliable electricity supply he used AGL’s common sense strategy to boast his own $550mn plan to offset the catastrophic failure of his own making was nothing short of a master stroke. Weatherill boasted,
“If there are big power companies squealing, the plan is working…it is a finely calibrated plan, it’s been carefully crafted to go as far as we can to actually drive competition but also not scare away investment…We’ve been screwed for too long by large power companies, it’s as simple as that…We’re taking the power back for the people of South Australia. A few people are upset about that because they’re not going to be able to make their enormous profits out of South Australians and if they’re squealing about that we’re happy…Large power plant companies screw ordinary South Australians. Increased competition is what drives down prices, not somebody just essentially maintaining their current monopoly position by upgrading plant and equipment.”
SA scrapped its coal-fired power and relies on wind power for 40% of its electricity. When the wind doesn’t blow, SA relies on backup power from neighboring Victoria, which has its own ridiculous renewable energy targets. Victoria has announced the closure of the Hazelwood coal-fired electricity plant which constitutes 20% of Victoria’s power on March 31st. So Victoria’s ‘pipe’ of backup will all but disappear.
What gets me is that it was Weatherill, not the private sector that “took power away from the people” (literally). Weatherill’s virtue signaling by means of thrashing private industry is a woeful attempt to take the moral high ground when in reality he is just being sanctimonious.
The bigger risk is this ‘back-up gas-fired generator’ should it ever be built will be run on an intermittent basis when power becomes a problem. The batteries don’t have anywhere near enough life to power a blackout for any reasonable period of time. Sadly, large scale machinery like this can’t run on an intermittent basis. It is much like a commercial aircraft. If aircraft sit idle on a tarmac for a sustained period of time, high precision parts get gummed up and require expensive maintenance to get back to working order. Those planes parked in the Arizona desert at the end of GFC that airlines thought to bring back into service cost $1.5mn/year each to maintain. Tyres have to be rotated every two days to prevent flat spots, fuel tanks have to be kept full, engines run and hydraulic controlled surfaces moved daily and windows require special sealants to prevent premature aging.
Same for a gas-fired power plant. It isn’t like switching on the Weber BBQ and expecting the thing to ignite. It would paradoxically call for higher running costs to operate periodically than run at constant load. So even if Weatherill can hand South Australians cheaper prices for their electricity at the plug (highly doubtful) they’ll be slugged through higher taxes elsewhere to pay for the higher upkeep of the gas-fired plant.
Is the finely calibrated plan working? If this is a finely calibrated I would hate to see what a half-baked plan looks like to Weatherill. Giving power back to the people is exactly that – give power back to them.
Sure. It is so easy to grant people certainty. Stop what you’re doing. It most certainly isn’t a game but if you did some proper due diligence you’d realize that you’re copying a model that has resolutely failed in South Australia. Jay Weatherill hasn’t stood up for his state at all. He’s sending them a bill for $550mn because he didn’t do the homework. In fact, such is his lack of preparation he is about to make the same mistake twice. To do a rush job on a battery storage tender inside two weeks and a fossil fuel plant which won’t see the light of day for at least 3-4 years shows the depths of how he deserves censure not congratulations.
Now you attack Josh Frydenberg as responsible for the state’s independent decision to ignore the advice of the experts. The national energy market is indeed a mess. While I agree with you that there is no leadership at a federal level, certain states none-the-less embarked on their own climate crusades with little thought for the realities which are becoming all to clear in South Australia. Now they are wanting the federal government to help pay for their recklessness.
Indeed you plan to follow Victoria down the same path. You will lose over a fifth of your electricity generation capacity by closing Hazelwood. No wonder South Australia is reaching for the bicycle tube repair kit because you’ll leave them no choice given Victoria can no longer be relied on when the lights go out.
Premier Andrews, indeed we do need a serious policy discussion on the future of energy in this country because the path you wish to take us will almost certainly guarantee lower growth, higher unemployment, higher costs and ultimately higher electricity prices. Talk all you want about saving the planet but even listening to the biggest alarmists will tell you that whatever Australia does will have near as makes no difference ZERO impact on the planet’s temperatures. Voters don’t need tokenism. If you want to grant them certainty, stop chasing thought bubbles on climate policy.
Mulligans in pro golf tournaments? Sounds farcical, right? That’s because it is. Yet this sums up the South Australian (SA) energy plan to a tee. The supposed “biggest battery park” in Australia totalling some 1,500 car batteries suggested by Elon Musk would keep the lights on in SA for 3.5 minutes. $150mn buys 3.5 minutes only? Naturally The Greens have lobbed the blame on the federal government for letting South Australia get into this parlous state of its own making. Instead of admitting the abject failure its renewable policy has shown in the real world, South Australia wants to take a $550mn Mulligan and tell its resident taxpayers that this is the shot it would have played. Sadly Jay Weatherill Is stuck in this ‘bunker’ mentality.
One person involved in And advisor to the renewable industry noted:
“I’m an electronics technician, been one for over 50 years, have worked on some of the most amazing bits of gear over the years, have worked in the renewable energy field and have worked with and been an advisor to government and industry on stand alone and grid connected systems and live completely off grid myself. And I can tell you for a fact that no battery ever ever ever will have the energy density storage of any type of fossil fuel, and fossil fuel energy density pales in comparison to nuclear fuel. Anyone that thinks you can run battery back up sufficient to power even a small town is delusional. The size of the battery would be ten times bigger than the town and then you have to have massive inverters to convert it back into 50 Hz mains power as well.”
The two biggest problems with this Mulligan are two fold.
First, the decision on the battery back up system seems in exceptional haste. Where is the sign to taxpayers that the $150mn investment here will be properly allocated and priced? Where is the detail outlining the paltry 3.5 minute safety valve, assuming they can be ready to go at 100% juice if the wind farms stop spinning? Does Premier Jay Weatherill actually get that this is the best he can hope for? Have they relied on the same experts that told them to lever up wind to 40% of power generation for advice? We understand that they are in a real bind but rushing a solution with the bicycle inner tube repair kit virtually guarantees they’ll be running back with $100 millions more in tax payer dollars to swing at the problem again.
Second, setting up the gas-fired back up generator isn’t an overnight affair. While the building construction might take 18 months from laying the cornerstone, has SA Premier Weatherill considered the location, local government approvals and whether enough engineers who can build such a plant are available? Will they run a tender or draw a name out of a hat? Sounds like a 3-4 year project at a minimum. Also has he managed to cover where the gas will come from? Has that supply been locked down?
You have to wonder at the incompetence in the first place to chase risky renewable targets without getting a grasp of the now too obvious side effects before setting off. To gloat about their virtue by publicly blowing up the evil Port Augusta coal-fired power station last year is one thing. To cover up the folly of that poor decision by gloating again that another $550mn of South Australian tax payers’ money is not an oversight tells you how clueless they are. Virtue signaling is a wonderful thing. Now they’ll have the state of Victoria as real competition to see who can run out of power fastest. The only problem Victorian Daniel Andrews will have is posting the problem to Facebook during the blackout.
Politicians seem allowed to take countless mulligans. Sadly South Australian residents will have to wait twelve months for the opportunity to take another swing.
You have to love the climbdown here from SA Premier Jay Weatherill after fumbling around in the dark over the blackouts and the epic fail caused by renewables. The public demolition of a coal-fired plant In Port Augusta symbolized the gloating about the switch to clean power. Was the decision by the South Australian government to chase such a fanciful renewable target done with proper due diligence (i.e. not falling for the green scares) there would be no need to splurge $360mn on a new gas-fired power plant to act as a back up for energy it might lose because of the unpredictability of green power. Truly a case of closing the gate after the horse has bolted. Another $150mn will be splurged on a battery storage facility which would never have been needed had common sense prevailed. Now the weakest state in Australia with the highest unemployment and most expensive electricity prices will slug tax payers with half a billion bucks. It is irrelevant whether their electricity bills will go up, they will pay indirectly. Utter madness.
What people tend to forget is that battery manufacture is an incredibly dirty business. The horrible stuff that goes into a Li-ion battery gets mined half a world away to be refined, mixed (lithium, nickel, cobalt , and aluminum) and converted into the finished product. Like those that claim an EV is emissions free. It isn’t when you calculate the production process and the power supply. In any event, all this episode today proves is that the South Australian government has stuffed up massively and now asking already tapped out taxpayers to suck up their woeful stewardship and lack of critical analysis on embarking on being en vogue rather than prudent.
Amusing that Weatherill is now gloating about SA having the biggest battery farm in Australia. I doubt taxpayers will want to hear “biggest” as that equates to “bigger” cost to them.
Once again our dearly departed Bill Leak summed up the mood of South Australia’s stupidity.