Yesterday we wrote about Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s interview on Sky News, and how appallingly well it summed up his party’s cynical and ill-informed view – and complete lack of coherent policy – on both climate change and energy.
But, of course, we weren’t the only ones to take exception to the discussion with Sydney shock-jock Alan Jones and former Abbott advisor, Peta Credlin.
In particular, Morrison’s comments on energy were called out by billionaire tech entrepreneur and investor, Mike Cannon-Brookes, who vented his frustration at what he called ” total BS” via his Twitter account (the same one used to invite Tesla’s Elon Musk to build a big battery in South Australia, and we all know how that ended).
Cannon-Brookes was particularly miffed about Morrsion’s statement that: “we can’t run an energy system that relies on intermittent power sources like wind and solar. Look they form part of the mix, but they’re never going to be what keeps the lights on.”
⚡️ Some more total BS. We have one of the most reliable countries in the world for levels of sun and wind. And storage becoming cheaper every year. And 😡 this makes me mad. We can do this. We just need to choose to do it. You know… make policies and stuff. https://t.co/LqQmp2RYwn
— Mike Cannon-Brookes 👨🏼💻🧢 (@mcannonbrookes) October 16, 2018
The argument that “if the wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine” then we will all get stuck in a lift and probably pee our pants is an old favourite of the Coalition’s conservative set – and used as a big tick in favour of coal, which just chugs away, regardless (unless it get too hot, or the plant is old, or …).
But as so many studies and experts have pointed out – including the Australian Energy Market Operator – centralised, slow-moving, baseload power stations are no longer fit for purpose in a carbon constrained world, with its increasingly decentralised grids.
And nor is coal power cheap, as illustrated in a Tweet from the increasingly vocal son of ex-PM Malcolm Turnbull, Alex Turnbull.
— Alex Turnbull (@alexbhturnbull) October 16, 2018
So for those who don’t understand the physics, perhaps try the economics.
— Mark Carnegie (@iammarkcarnegie) October 17, 2018
Furthermore, we already have the technology – right now – to store renewable energy, and to manage it and shift it, so that its variability is not a problem. It’s just a matter of, as Cannon-Brookes put it, “making policies and stuff” to ensure it is all done smoothly and at lowest cost.
As another Twit noted, it’s really just the energy equivalent of what our water utilities – who, incidentally, are all switching to renewables – have been doing, all along, with their own intermittent resource: rain.
⚡️This is a really good comment next time anyone talks about “intermittent” energy storage. We solved this with water many centuries ago. https://t.co/NJRleaxkdk
— Mike Cannon-Brookes 👨🏼💻🧢 (@mcannonbrookes) October 17, 2018
Indeed, compared to the rain, you can set your watch by the sun.
The sun seems pretty reliable so far
— Sam Roberts (@SamRoberts3D) October 16, 2018