ESB leaves some unexpected booby traps in latest NEG update

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Latest version of National Energy Guarantee raises concerns it could put a de-facto cap on efforts by states, retailers and even corporate buyers, while the creation of a closed registry raises issues about transparency.

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The latest version of the National Energy Guarantee has raised concerns that it could put a de-facto cap on efforts by state governments, retailers and even corporate buyers to go beyond the federal government’s weak targets.

The NEG – enthusiastically embraced by the federal Coalition government as a “political” solution to the climate and energy policy failures of its own creation – has already been widely criticised, because it will provide little or no incentive for new renewable energy investment.

That is largely down to the federal government’s weak target of a 26 per cent cut in electricity sector emissions by 2030 – a target that will likely be all but met by the 2020 renewable energy target, itself a policy the Coalition sought to destroy.

It effectively means that the NEG will introduce two obligations that may not even be triggered under the current government policy setting; either because the target is too weak, in the case of the emissions obligation, or because there is no forecast reliability issue.

But focus has returned to the actual mechanism of the NEG, as more and more of the detailed policies are rolled out in a mad rush to have legislation finished in just six weeks before the August meeting of COAG energy ministers.

Many in the energy industry think this is an insanely short timetable, and are wary of hidden booby-traps – laid intentionally or otherwise – in the legislation.

In the words of Labor’s climate change spokesman Mark Butler, the goal is to try and ensure that the NEG “does no harm”, even if it is incapable under current policy settings of doing much good.

At least two potential problems have emerged in the latest draft presented to COAG energy ministers on Friday afternoon by the ESB.

There is already an issue around “additionality” for state-based targets – meaning that even though the likes of the ACT, Victoria and Queensland have targets well beyond the national target, the structure of the NEG means that slow-moving states like NSW will be able to sponge off their efforts.

Under the renewable energy target, the ACT deliberately made its own 100 per cent renewable energy target by 2020 “additional” to the national target by jettisoning the renewable energy certificates created by the wind and solar farms it has contracted.

But no such mechanism exists under the NEG as currently drafted, although there is no reason why it couldn’t be added, says Dylan McConnell, of the Climate and Energy College in Melbourne.

There is also concern over limits to “over-achievement” on emissions intensity targets – ostensibly to ensure competition, according to the ESB – which McConnell says would act as an effective cap on efforts of retailers to go beyond the legislated targets, or for corporates to do the same.

“My concern is not so much that it could do little, it could actually be detrimental,” McConnell says. “It is not clear to me that it will do no harm … the draft proposal explicitly limits over achievement.”

Bizarrely, says Bruce Mountain, the director of the newly formed Victoria Energy Policy Centre, the risk of penalties appears more likely for those who exceed the targets and refuse to share their virtue, and not for those who fail.

He notes that $100 million penalties mentioned by ESB deputy chair Clare Savage on Friday only apply to increased “upper penalties” in any civil action.

But the documents make clear that the primary approach will be to “build a culture of compliance” and, specifically, that “minimising non-compliance through informing, educating and engaging stakeholders is better than enforcement action after a breach has occurred.”

“This is not credible,” Mountain says.

Another issue is around the proposed registry, which McConnell says risks repeating some of the mistakes of the RET legislation by being closed and all but invisible to the markets.

“The registry will only be accessible to market customers and generators. That means it will be behind closed doors, so there is no price discovery and it keeps a lot of power with the companies who are able to sign contracts.”

Tristan Edis, another analyst at Green Energy Market, said he was horrified by the proposal.

“This is very strange,” he said in an emailed statement.

“What is the benefit to the community of obscuring data on the registry? The REC-Registry is open for any member of the public to review the entire history of every single transfer, so we know that there is no technical reason for why we have to constrain access to the NEG registry.

“This is a government mandated policy market that the government is claiming will help them achieve emission goals – it should be open to full public scrutiny.

“One is left wondering whether there is something the government or perhaps incumbent power companies want to hide from the public and potential new entrants. If the ESB is concerned about competition then they need as transparent a market as they can possibly get.”

Another issue is the fact that, rather than allocating emissions to the ‘controlling corporation’ – that is, the likes of AGL (largest emitter in the country) or Energy Australia (which owns the most emissions intensive generator Yallourn) – they are not directly held accountable/responsible for their emissions.

(We go into detail on this in our Energy Insiders Podcast today).

While the efforts of the ESB to try and make this a workable document are being admired in some quarters, the politics of the debate means that the detail is being largely swept aside.

Several energy industry insiders pointed out to RenewEconomy over the weekend that the NEG is simply emerging as some sort of highly complex but de-facto emissions intensity scheme, or a clean energy target.

That can’t be acknowledged by the ESB, or the government, because of the likely reaction of the furious conservatives in the Coalition, whose intransigence and hopeless misunderstanding of climate science and modern technology has forced the dumping of the most obvious solution – a carbon price, and a rejection of proposals marked EIS or CET.

Instead, the Coalition clings to the remnants of Direct Action, which has turned into a sort of carbon market of its own, but using taxpayers money handed out to some business schemes of questionable merit.

It still has no policy to define how the country can meet its 2030 climate commitment, which will have to be raised in any case.

Media on Saturday were describing a victory, of sorts, for Frydenberg over the right wing, for the government decision to adopt a linear approach to the 2030 target, rather than a “j-curve” favoured by the back bench.

But when the target is basically met – in 2020 – by the renewable energy target, the mechanism which the government sought to destroy – then the trajectory is actually flat, or close to it, so it doesn’t matter whether it’s linear or not (unless a government that takes climate science seriously is elected).

ITK analyst David Leitch says the NEG itself might only cause 650MW – two terawatt-hours – of new wind and solar investment to be built out to … compared to more than 60TWh required to satisfy the Queensland and Victoria state targets and the likely closure of more coal fired generators.

“The NEG … is something that was cobbled together in a hurry to get electricity off the front page of the newspapers and something that is acceptable to the right wing of the party,” Leitch says on Energy Insiders. “But we are going to have to live with it.”

The approach of mainstream media has been either to criticise the NEG for “going too far,” in case of Murdoch commentators, or just wave it through and don’t worry about the detail in the case of some in Fairfax and The Guardian.

What could be done to improve it? Mountain suggested the above, at a minimum, when launching his new centre last week.

But Mountain says details are critical. “This stuff does matter”, he tells RenewEconomy, adding that the key difference between this and other models such as an EIS, CET or carbon price is the lack of a visible price.

That is a quite deliberate ploy to satisfy the only grouping that opposes such a thing – the right wing of the Coalition. One of the solutions to make it workable, he says, is to ensure there is a visible price. McConnell fears all pricing would disappear behind contracting not visible to the market.

“The ESB’s approach is without precedent; there are much simpler ways to deal with these challenges using the existing mechanisms,” Mountain says.

“Complexity has a cost, and customers are forced to bear it. The complex approach the ESB is proposing is unnecessary and easily avoidable.”

The difficulty is that the “politics” of the NEG means it might be hard for state and territory governments to oppose it, but there is not enough time to properly analyse the detail.

The ESB proposes to bombard governments and policy makers and players in the market with another 10 detailed documents this week providing further details of how the mechanisms might work.

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48 Comments
  1. Peter Todd 1 year ago

    I am sick of people whinging about the NEG rather then pointing out its positives. The ESB and Josh are doing their best to produce a policy that is acceptable to the centre right as well as the centre left. The Labor states are not going to accept a policy that waters down their efforts. Please start talking about the likely gains that will be achieved. Whinging achieves bugger all.

    • Giles 1 year ago

      Hi Peter.
      So let me understood you correctly. The ESB is proposing probably the most significant change to the rules of the electricity market since its creation, and proposes to do so and have them completed with six weeks, and you would rather we not cast a critical eye but rather sing a hymn to the Coalition’s policy.
      That’s what mainstream media is doing but we see a different role for ourselves.
      But please, don’t let us stop you, why don’t you start the list of positives and we can discuss.

      • Peter Todd 1 year ago

        List of positives
        – NEG has a reasonable chance of achieving a bipartisan electricity energy policy, which has not been the case for a long time
        – It has a mechanism to drive additional generation into the market. This will be mostly renewable as they are the most viable long term investment as even gas generation will eventually be stranded.
        – It has the potential to drive electricity prices down
        – It has a mechanism by simple government decision to put a floor in carbon emissions from electricity.
        Yes nothing is certain, there are many risks and it will very likely to require lots of policy tinkering at the boundaries for years to come . I think the process that the ESB has started is worth supporting.

        • Mike Westerman 1 year ago

          When you talk of bipartisan support I presume you mean support from Labor, who have committed to emissions reductions targets, and the government of a leader who proclaimed he would never lead a government with less belief in Climate Change and the need for action than what he proudly claimed was his belief. So what you are really saying is that the majority should be beholden to a small minority with no interest or belief in emissions mitigation?

          • Hettie 1 year ago

            You tell ‘im, Mike.
            How is a policy that is so obviously planned to delay the demise of fossil fuels, to the profound detriment of public health, the affordability of electricity, and the welfare of the planet, a policy designed to hamper the transition to renewable, sustainable energy not just for electricity but for transport, a policy designed to protect the profitability of the one of most destructive industries on the planet, how can such a policy possibly be worthy of bipartisan support?
            It is not worthy of being used for arse wipes.

          • Peter Todd 1 year ago

            Both Labor and Coalition are committed to our Paris Climate Targets. If you don’t want Australia’s climate effort to flip flop at every or every second election them there needs to be agreement on a long term energy policy structure that will stay in place with changes in government. NEG has the potential to be a good start. Few people argue that it is the best approach. It many times better than the long term flip flop. The best outcome for Australia’s climate effort is if the next election focuses on Tax and not about Climate.

          • Mike Westerman 1 year ago

            Peter my own belief is that Australia will get better government when politicians don’t flip flop every election, but instead form firm policies supported by evidence, even if they then have to have the backbone to go out and sell them. Otherwise “commitments” are just hot air. Clearly the majority of Australians are participating in the actual transformation of our energy system, and to such an extent that the mess that is the NEG will be irrelevant before it gets rolling.

            The Coalition is supposedly the party of good management: the first rule of risk management is to hand it to the party best able to manage it. Retailers do not produce emissions or provide reliability. So it is objectively clear that policy that tries to pass these risks to retailers will be gamed and be expensive, without succeeding.

            I’m happy for the next election to be fought on climate and energy policy. Tax policy can wait.

          • Hettie 1 year ago

            The Coalition *claims* to be committed to the Paris targets, but despite the fact that Australia’s emissions are rising, and that the targets go nowhere near achieving the 1.5°C limit to global warming anyway, their actions speak far louder than those claims. They are putting every conceivable roadblock in the way of the transition to renewables.

            NEG is the biggest of those roadblocks. Why would anyone in their right mind want bipartisan support for a policy whose logical long term result would be a planet that is not habitable?

          • Joe 1 year ago

            Coalition commitments…we’ve heard them all in the past. From Honest Johnny and his ‘core and non core’ promises and from the Abbott ‘no cuts and no changes’ promises pre 2010 election. Now we get a new instalment over the Paris emissions reductions targets. Abbott says now he was “mislead by bureaucrats” whilst Turnbull does sweet FA in getting Australia anywhere near to meeting our pathetically low agreed reduction target – our emissions are going UP not down. The COALition have an enviable track record, NOT…you just can’t trust them. And remeber Turnbull’s recent famous gem of a phrase…”Coalition policy remains Coalition policy until it is changed”. Like I said, you just can’t trust them.

        • Ray Miller 1 year ago

          Peter, going further down the rabbit hole is never going to have “any” real positives, just improving the illusion to the rabbit of temporary safety and distraction from the real threats.

          • Joe 1 year ago

            Just send the ‘RE Ferret’ down that ‘Coal rabbit hole’.

        • Hettie 1 year ago

          We do not need a floor in carbon emissions. We need a cap on them. The lower the better.
          The NEGligible Energy Policy is trying to fool the country into thinking it is a positive move, while all the time its primary aim is to appease the RWNJs who have massive coal shareholdings and the promise of forever highly paid sinecures in the coal industry when the voters sack them from Parliament.
          Until AEMO releases it’s Integrated System Plan in a week or so, deciding to opt for the NEG is just dumb.

        • RobertO 1 year ago

          Hi Peter Todd, What about the idea that the NEG need to be signed up for 10 years with no changes. Then there are the reviews every 5 years after that. I sure that a positive for the RWNJ’s that want new coal (despite the losses that would follow and it would have to come out of tax payers pockets). As for the idea that the NEG will drive prices down have you got rocks in your head. I as a coal power station can guarantee supply (at about 53%) for large sums of money paid by RE supplies all buried in contracts that you and I will never see. Support coal at all costs is my reading of this stupidity by the current Fed Gov. Look at babbott and his claim “Everybody knows you can not run a steel mill on RE. You have to have reliable baseload (and that means Coal and only coal)!

          • Peter Todd 1 year ago

            Hi Robert – NEG has to be accepted by Labor states before it goes ahead so the rougher edges will be sorted out. It may not be the best policy in the world but it is a step in a good direction. Bi-partisanship is the only secure way forward. anthing else will just be a flip flop with election and kill our long term chance of ongoing climate success.

          • Hettie 1 year ago

            Better a flip flop than a truly retrograde policy locked in for ten years

          • Alastair Leith 1 year ago

            NEG has to be accepted by Labor states

            Or VIC, ACT say no. And even Libs in SA will be effectively penalised for having 50-75% RE

          • Hettie 1 year ago

            We can only hope that enough State pollies understand that species, human species survival is rather more important than political survival, and refuse point blank to agree to the NEG.

          • Peter F 1 year ago

            So Victoria in many ways the most difficult path to de-carbonisation and going to a close election will be blackmailed into agreement, otherwise they will feel the full force of the Murdocracy.
            This plan is rubbish from start to finish.
            1. No-one has a clue how the reliability mechanism could be made to work given the unreliability of coal plants.
            2. No-one is allowed to see the emissions limitation contracts. 3. Every effort is made to keep new competition out of the market.

            To me the only good thing that can come of it is that it will be such a nightmare that rooftop solar and storage will explode. Larger industrial sites will install their own onsite wind as well as solar, and exempt community power businesses will take off. In sum the democratisation of energy will be accelerated.

            On the other side capacity factor of coal plants will deteriorate to such an extent that 3-4 of them will go broke anyway. High prices and unreliability of coal plants will force the closure of remaining mainland Aluminium smelters, so grid demand for fossil fuel power will fall to less than 100 TWh and maybe below 80 TWh.

            Given the relative efficiency of Qld and Victorian coal plants imports to NSW will increase from about 5 TWh to about 17 TWh. Even in the unlikely event that no new wind farms are approved, new wind and solar already in construction or commissioning in NSW will add another 12-14 TWh and if Tomago closes because of the incompetence that will reduce demand by 10 TWh. In total NSW coal generation would fall from 68 TWh to 30-35 TWh. Even without Liddell, that will leave the remaining plants at an average 50% capacity factor and therefore having technical and financial difficulty remaining open. If only 25% of the renewable plans approved or in planning, but not financed yet get up, not to mention community wind and solar farms that is another 8 TWh off the coal load bringing utilisation down to below 40% by the end of 2023.

        • Alastair Leith 1 year ago

          NEG has a reasonable chance of achieving a bipartisan electricity energy policy, which has not been the case for a long time

          This is a bipartisan backwards step. All steps are not made equally, and it will end any attempts to get other major energy reforms up. Bad move, Peter.

          – It has a mechanism to drive additional generation into the market. This will be mostly renewable as they are the most viable long term investment as even gas generation will eventually be stranded.

          Did you even read the article? Listen to the podcast below the article.

          It has the potential to drive electricity prices down

          Again, backwards step towards higher prices than otherwise would be if we had massive investment in RE.

          It has a mechanism by simple government decision to put a floor in carbon emissions from electricity.

          If you call a garden path a floor, or a fair weather umbrella a ceiling. And what Hettie said.

    • Nick Kemp 1 year ago

      Bi-partisan shouldn’t mean two sides compromising their beliefs to reach a middle ground. It should mean two sides agreeing that the science stacks up and enabling it to lead the debate. Remember that the two sides in this debate both receive huge ‘donations’ from the coal lobby.

      • Peter Todd 1 year ago

        As soon as you start talking about beliefs you are well off track. Bi-partisanship is about common goals, not common beliefs. There is a common goal, which is achieving Paris Climate Targets.

        • Hettie 1 year ago

          No, Peter. The goal is preserving a habitable planet. Preserving life on earth. The Paris targets are nowhere near enough to do that.
          Signing on to a policy that puts roadblocks in the way of achieving zero emissions as rapidly as possible is nothing short of mass suicide.
          Beliefs are immaterial in the face of scientific evidence. The science says climate emergency.
          THERE IS NO TIME TO DICK AROUND.

        • Alastair Leith 1 year ago

          Do you understand that the commitments Australia has made to the Paris Agreement is not adequate for the ultimate goal or the Paris Agreement 1.5-2.0 ºC by end of the century (or a peak emissions level depending on who you listen to)?

          That means that current decarbonisation measures will need to be doubled and triple in the next decade.

          In fact, when the truth emerges that even if humans vacated Earth by midnight tonight and turned the lights out that the global average air temp would rise to [1.5 – 2.1] ºC or mutli-modal average of 1.7 ºC. This is due to the cooling GHGs that come out of coal stacks and jet turbine engines that would cease and then disappear from atmosphere rapidly.

          So a 1.5 ºC peak is essentially impossible (in spite of the Paris Accord aspirations) and this is going to become increasingly evident so the need for rapid decarbonisation will become increasingly obvious to even the most confused about these issues. End result, IPCC/UNFCCC agreements will need to become more and more ambitious and the NEG will have locked in anti-ambition mechanisms for a decade pushing the decarbonisation to more problematic sectors. (Don’t start me on the 54% GWP20 of national GHG that our Ag sector emits and pretends it can offset with a little dose of regenerative agriculture).

          • Hettie 1 year ago

            Alastair, I think you you have no more chance of convincing Peter Todd of these truths than you would have of convincing Matt Canavan or Barnaby Joyce. He is a lost cause.

          • Alastair Leith 1 year ago

            Maybe so. But who knows what seeps in when he and/or others read it?

          • Hettie 1 year ago

            You are right, of course.

    • Alastair Leith 1 year ago

      You had me at “Centre Right”… ha ha ha ha

    • Peter F 1 year ago

      What are the positives?

  2. Hettie 1 year ago

    We need to see AEMO’s Integrated System Plan to have a proper comparator with NEG.
    My guess is that NEG will be shown up as a tale told by a bunch of idiots, full of error and prejudice, signifying corruption.

  3. neroden 1 year ago

    Kill the NEG in its current form. If the Feds try to force it through, the Labor states should immediately withdraw from the NEM.

    It’s unacceptable to put maximums on renewable energy. Come on. Even the COALition should see how embarassingly illegal that is.

  4. Les Johnston 1 year ago

    There is real action in response to the changing climate and then there is the NEG. To suggest it is a compromise is a little disingenuous. Economic analysis and engineering evidence is aligned with changing the energy generation and reliability industry in the developed world. AEMO is reflecting the changes taking place based upon evidence. The market needs to be open and transparent not hidden by vested interests. Conservatives would support risk management rather than ignorance.

  5. wonderer 1 year ago

    Nuclear power plant can give us plenty of cheap clean energy. But Greenes do not want them. Why?

    Because they cannot get any kickbacks from them, compare with solar and wind?

    • Mike Westerman 1 year ago

      Wonder no more – just read the cost of the latest nuke in UK – $164/MWh fully escalated with guarantees. Compared to $30/MWh Fixed for the latest large scale solar in the US. Only idiots can’t see why solar is more attractive.

      • Hettie 1 year ago

        And how long has it taken to build, Mike? From concept to commissioning? And what has been the total build cost, per projected MWh of production and absolute?
        What are the insurance costs, the payroll costs? The eventual decommissioning costs?
        All built into the selling price of course, but the nuke nuts need some real figures to convince them that nuclear is eyewateringly expensive.

        • Mike Westerman 1 year ago

          Hettie – I would say less eye watering, more like a stab in the eye with a hot poker. Contracts signed Sep 2016, they’ve poured the first concrete, of which 3million tonnes will be used, along with 110,000m of rock pins. EDF avoids the end date on their website, but press releases indicate a 2025 commercial date – 9y. Current estimates are $11M/MW – that’s more than the solar thermal plant in SA. Pumped hydros are around $1.5-2M/MW and enable $2M/MW solar to be made firm, so for a max of about a third of the cost, you can get the same continuous power from solar+pumped hydro, built in less than half the time, with no ongoing costs,compared to considerable ongoing and decommissioning costs for nukes. In UK, they have wind as the RE option but similar numbers.

          I think “crassly irresponsible” is a term that comes to mind.

          • RobertO 1 year ago

            Hi Mike Westerman, I wonder how much the pollies are getting in kickbacks. Nukes were always an expensive option world wide. There only hope is cost overruns cause the company to go bankrupt and end this saga.

      • Peter F 1 year ago

        Mike you are too kind. The price is PDs 91 indexed from 2012 for 30 years beyond the opening date. Assuming 2% inflation and opening date of 2026 (both optimistic) that is A$215/MWh

        • Mike Westerman 1 year ago

          That’s more like a jab in both eyes with a fuel rod!

          • Peter F 1 year ago

            and the build time from announcement in 2010 to contract in 2016 to completion hopefully in 2025 is in fact 15 years + after the site was selected. We are 2-5 years off selecting a site assuming nuclear legislation could get through the parliament. I won’t see a nuclear plant in my lifetime, although I live in hope to see the last coal plant closed.

      • wonderer 1 year ago

        “Only idiots can’t see why solar is more attractive”

        Only idiots cannot see solar does not produce anything at night or during cloudy weather.

        • Mike Westerman 1 year ago

          Do you produce anything of value at night? Surprise! Most humans sleep at night, so the shops and the offices sit idle. So only an idiot would state the obvious and think it was a contribution to the discussion.

          • wonderer 1 year ago

            “Most humans sleep at night, so the shops and the offices sit idle”

            For some strange reasons power plants works at night also. Because somebody needs electricity.

            Probably not everyone sleeps, yes?

            And solar panels does something useful about 10% time. 90% they are useless.

          • Mike Westerman 1 year ago

            About as insightful as saying you are useless when idle – you seem to have no grasp of the notion of capacity factor. None of our forms of generation operate 7×24. Large thermal machines require others to be “idle” because if one trips it takes a large proportion of the supply with it. Solar is most available when most people need energy, and so a low cost and abundant source can provide most needs. A variety of other sources will supply power over night, but eventually the ubiquity of solar will render all other forms redundant, of that there is no doubt. Your arguments are mere idle noise.

        • Hettie 1 year ago

          While you are correct in saying solar dies not produce at night, it doe produce on cloudy days. Just not as much as on clear bright days.
          Perhaps only a quarter of its maximum days, but still useful output.

          • wonderer 1 year ago

            yes, but it does not mean cheap sources of electricity must be destroyed. Solar is just “add-on”, nothing more.

          • Hettie 1 year ago

            How much evidence does it take for you to accept that coal is not cheap?
            Quite apart from the environmental imperatives, that small matter of ensuring that this little planet remains habitable beyond the next 30 years, it is economics which now drive the transition to clean energy and ultimately, clean transport.
            Coal, gas and petrol cost more than wind, solar, PHES and batteries, and the costs of fossil fuels continues to rise, while the costs of renewables continues to fall.
            Therefore, inevitably, inexorably, coal is being priced out of the market. So too will gas be, as other means are developed to cover the down times of wind and solar.
            Get used to the idea.
            Fossil fuels are moribund because they cost too much to survive.

        • Hettie 1 year ago

          In fact, solar produces quite a lot in cloudy weather. Only in heavy rain, when there is very little uv penetration does the output almost cease. Last week, on a day of heavy rain all day, my 5.3 kW system produced just 5.5kWh. Yesterday, 28.7kWh. Midsummer, 36kWh.
          So yes, output drops markedly in less than full sun, but as soon as the sun comes out, and with no human intervention or monetary expense, back to full production.
          When a coaler stops, as happened about 3 times a week last summer, hundreds of megawatt of generation were dropped from the grid without warning. Lots of manhours and dollars to ensure safety before resuming operations, then a long, slow warm up to operating temperature, before that unit comes back on line.
          That happened 59 times in 2018, before the end of May. The most unreliable form of electricity generation in Australia is coal.
          The variability of wind and solar is weather dependant, so highly predictable. Both have periods when production is so abundant that the excess can be used to push water uphill for later release and hydrogeneration, plenty to cover the downtime of the clean energy sources.
          Do note, too, that coal cannot vary its output without significant cost. So ripple controlled overnight water heating was invented to create a market for the excess power. There are of course other all night power consumers. Overnight wind, given sufficient installation of wind farms, is more than enough to cover that demand.
          Right now, in Australia, the transition away from coal has not quite reached the stage of needing enough PHES and other storage to completely cover wind and solar variability. There is time to build what is needed as the old coalers close. But without renewables, especially solar, we would be having blackouts EVERY summer afternoon. Chew on that, silly man, and then keep your silly mouth shut.

  6. Peter F 1 year ago

    The comforting thing is that the NEG is all but irrelevant. Building 2,000 MW of wind farms 1,600 MW of tracking solar will produce the same annual generation as a 2,000 MW coal plant. Adding 10 Hornsdale reserves and Kidston and upgraded Shoalhaven would guarantee output at peak demand times of 2,000 MW, the same as the coal plant. Total cost would be about $7b, the same as a new coal plant . However the LCOE of the W/S/B system would be around $70/MWh. NSW coal plants paying export prices for coal have a breakeven over $90 when including provision for major maintenance, so in summary most Australian black coal plants are doomed

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