Malcolm Turnbull has become a de-facto climate denier | RenewEconomy

Malcolm Turnbull has become a de-facto climate denier

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Macron’s dressing down of Malcolm Turnbull on his lack of leadership on climate change underlines a disturbing point: Turnbull may not deny the science of climate change, but he does deny the need to act now, and the economic benefits of embracing renewables.

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(AAP Image/Getty Images Pool, Jason McCawley)
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“Revenons a nos moutons”. Les bons conseils du President Macron. (AAP Image/Getty Images Pool, Jason McCawley)

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has been delivered two home truths this week about his failure to act on climate change, and his refusal to tackle his party’s right-wing ideologues.

The first was a speech, more a thinly disguised lecture, from visiting France president Emmanuel Macron, who eviscerated Turnbull in front of a big audience at the Sydney Opera House on Tuesday night:

“I am fully aware of the political and economic debate surrounding this issue in your country, and I respect this,” Macron said.

“But I think that actual leaders are those that can respect those existing interests, but at the same time decide to participate to something broader, to something more strategic.”

“Actual leaders”? It seems Turnbull’s capitulation to the far right has not gone unnoticed on the international stage. And bravo to Macron for telling him so.

The second moment came the next day, at Kirribilli House, and again in the company of Macron, at the signing of a deal between Sanjeev Gupta, arguably one of the country’s leading industrialists, and the head of French renewable group Neoen.

The deal was for a solar farm to supply Gupta’s steel plant in Victoria, and so dramatically reduce its costs, and the message to Turnbull could not have been any clearer.

“The switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy is the revolution of this century, transforming our economics and our impact on the environment,” said Neoen president Xavier Barbaro.

“We believe renewable energy is a game-changer and (these) agreements reflect a shared commitment to deliver low-cost sustainable energy solutions to the market.”

Gupta intends to embrace renewables, to slash electricity costs not just in Victoria, but across his entire steel industry portfolio in Whyalla and NSW, and use this to make Australia great again in manufacturing and industry.

Yet here we are, with the leader who promised never to lead a political party that didn’t take climate change seriously … doing exactly that. And at the same time deliberately ignoring one of the greatest technology transitions in the world, just to placate a handful of vested coal interests.

There is now no doubt that Turnbull’s refusal to act on climate change, and his refusal to embrace Australia’s renewable energy riches, is driven by his Faustian bargain with the far right that both denies the science of climate change, and is sworn to defend coal.

According to the Institute of Public Affairs, a right wing think tank that rejects climate science, more than half of the Coalition’s parliamentarians are climate skeptics. The IPA should know, it has provided a few of those MPs from its own ranks.

Yet what were the major policy initiatives of the Turnbull government in the days before the Macron visit? Two programs that highlight its willingness to spend money to “adapt” to the impacts of the climate change that much of the government insists is not happening.

First was the $500 million to be spent on the Great Barrier Reef, an Australian and international treasure to be sure, with a fair chunk of this money aimed at developing new coral species that are more resistant to warmer waters.

Why do they need new species of coral to be able to cope with warmer waters? Climate change of course. What are we doing about climate change? Not much.

Ditto the announcement a day earlier from agriculture minister David Littleproud about an agreement with state ministers to help farmers adapt to climate change.

Why was this needed? Because the climate is changing. What are we doing about it? Not much.

As environmental groups, the Labor Party and The Greens have pointed out, there is little sense spending money on trying to adapt to climate change if you haven’t made much of an effort to tackle it first, and still refuse to do so. It becomes a never-ending pit.

Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org, an environmental organisation that wants to hold the world to account on its Paris ambition to limit average global warming to 1.5°C, visited the reef last weekend as part of his latest tour of Australia.

“It was a weird feeling being up on the reef and reading news that the government was going to save the reef by not doing anything about the problem that the reef is actually facing. It was quite disorientating,” McKibben told RenewEconomy.

“It’s like coming across someone who has been mugged in a dark alley and you offer them a cholesterol test. It doesn’t address the problem.”

McKibben laments the fact that all around the world, nearly every leader – apart from Trump, who doesn’t care – wants to be perceived as doing something about the environmental problems we face.

“But they refuse to do the things that might actually help,” and this is despite the fact that right now – as Gupta and Neoen pointed out to Turnbull on Tuesday – it would actually be quite easy to achieve significant emissions reductions, given the falling cost of renewables and the emergence of battery storage.

“And that is infuriating,” McKibben says. “For years we listened to people saying (renewable energy) was too expensive, then it was too unreliable. Now it’s cheap, and Musk has built the biggest freaking battery in the world, and it’s working like a charm.

“They are running out of excuses, but the problem is they are still taking money from coal.”

McKibben has no doubt that the world will be running on the wind and the sun within 50 years, and for that matter neither do most energy institutions and forecasters.

The problem is that it needs to happen a lot quicker, and the small bump of momentum that occurred with the signing of the Paris climate treaty has been squashed by the election of Trump.

“One of the overlooked problems with Trump is that he sets the bar so low by being such a grotesque buffoon, and that makes it easier for others to look statesmanlike.”

As for Turnbull, McKibben is less forgiving.

“Turnbull knows everything there is not know about climate change, but doesn’t do anything about it. I don’t know if that if that makes him worse than Trump or better.”

It begs an interesting question. Has Malcolm Turnbull, he who crossed the floor to vote against his party’s bill to scrap the carbon price, become a de-facto climate denier?

Not a denier of the science, because it would seem he accepts that, but a denier of the need to act.

As Macron told him, it requires leadership to overcome dissent, and the “power of conviction”. But Turnbull has shown no inclination to argue his point.

Turnbull is a constant denier, too, of the march of renewable energy, and its undoubted benefits, which are now being embraced by many of Australia’s biggest corporates, as well as millions of households.

It was galling for many – and to the Victoria government – that Turnbull should be seeking to claim credit for a major solar farm that will be built as part of Victoria’s state-based target that Turnbull has often described as “waffle” and “left-wing ideology”.

Turnbull’s government is also a denier of the immense opportunity presented by the falling costs of renewables, and other actions, to be more ambitious on emissions, and to save money and reduce costs at the same time.

Analysis after analysis shows that his government’s weak emissions reduction targets for the electricity sector for 2030 will have already been met by 2020 – creating the prospect of yet another lost decade.

Energy minister Josh Frydenberg continues to label any higher targets as “reckless and extreme.” The government has no policy – nearly five years after it came to power – to address long-term emissions reductions in other sectors of the economy.

So how long will this climate denial last? For Turnbull, at least until the next election, because that is what his compact with the far right appears to demand.

At that poll, either he and his government will get turfed out, and be replaced by a Labor government that will hopefully deliver on its rhetoric, or Turnbull will sneak back in.

The question is whether he will still be cowed by the Far Right at that point – or will he take Macron’s advice on how to be a leader and show that power of conviction.

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237 Comments
  1. Chris Drongers 2 years ago

    Re-convene and re-fund the Climate Change Authority, restart the public engagement on climate change science and its forecasts. Acknowledge that the future world belongs ro those that want new better solutions , not the comfort of current operations.
    I see little evidence of ‘the west’ doing this. But i see lots of evidence of China occupying the space. Already China is starting to tell us what to do (recycling, electric busses replaced diesel consumption equivalent to whole of Greece’s use, Pacific nations development funds). Under current political practice, Australia is toast.

    • Joe 2 years ago

      …and China is bringing in a Carbon Price which should filter through to its trading partners that don’t have Carbon Pricing….which just happens to include Australia.

      • James Thomson 2 years ago

        And the world’s biggest nuclear energy program. That’s where the big difference is.

        • hydrophilia 2 years ago

          Ah, but even ignoring cost, nuclear reactors will not vary their output to follow load. They are at least as problematic in this as PV or wind.
          Of course, if we electrify transportation and the batteries can be used to balance the grid then this solves the problem that both nuclear and PV (not to mention wind and coal) have. At that point, the question becomes “which can produce power most cheaply?”

          • Electric Boogaloo 2 years ago

            Modern fission plants can load follow much better than older designs, but like with all “base load generators”, run best (most economically) at maximum output.

            With increasing electrification of transport, the base load will increase, creating more room for fission.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            By the time electricity is 100% renewable, in 12 to 15 years, the price difference between nuclear and renewables will be so great that the nuclear guys will all go broke.
            Suck it up, cupcake.

          • James Thomson 2 years ago

            It’s less than 2% now – mostly hydro – and you say 100% in 12 years. This is how you play right into the hands of Abbott and co. They can point to junk claims like that and tell the public, “See, the greenies are just making stuff up. How can you trust these people on energy policy.,” If you don’t follow the evidence and engage in this faith based nonsense you’re doing more harm than they are.

          • RobertO 2 years ago

            Hi James Thompson, just remember babbott has told the world of steel makers, “You can not power a steel plant with RE”
            So S Gupta has bought the steel plant and he now plans to prove babbott is an idiot. Even two toungs wanted to claim
            S Gupta plans for Laverton
            UK “green steel” billionaire Sanjeev Gupta has signed a 15-year deal to take power from the soon-to-be built Numurkah solar farm in northern Victoria, to help power his newly acquired Laverton steel works in Victoria and reduce electricity costs.

            “The signing of an MOU between Gupta’s GFG Alliance, its energy offshoot SIMEC ZEN and French renewable energy developer Neoen was witnessed by prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and visiting French president Emmanuel Macron at a ceremony in Sydney on Wednesday.”

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            In 2015 renewables was at 71.7 quadrillion Btu or 12.5% of total energy consumption.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2d1384cb1f7b77d841f662db610556291248e75d1d8259ffed051b96d9cc5da1.png

            https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/aeo/data/browser/#/?id=2-IEO2017&region=0-0&cases=Reference&start=2010&end=2015&f=A&linechart=Reference-d082317.3-2-IEO2017&sourcekey=0

            Furthermore, global installed capacity of solar and wind has since
            doubled between 2015 and today due mainly to the exponential growth of renewables in China, India, and high growth rates in the USA and Japan. Oh, and Australia.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Thanks for this, Ren. I can’t keep back issues on my phone for memory reasons, so although I recall the facts, I can never get the citations.
            I foolishly bought an inexpensive laptop which is glacially slow, and I hate windows 10. So it’s the phone for every day.

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            No worries. Just a shame the IEA and the EIA reports lag so far behind. Globally renewables went ballistic in 2016 and 2017 but we won’t see it in a IEA / EIA report for a quite a while – the 2016 year will probably be reported this September 2018 …. if their fleet of carrier pigeons stay fit and healthy.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Love your acid wit.

          • James Thomson 2 years ago

            Innovation, Scale & the Myths of Green Energy Youtube. “Scale, scale, scale” and the “big fib” of green energy. Use numbers, not adjectives.

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            No problemo. Get these numbers into ya. Solar photovoltaic installed capacity has doubled since 2015. That’s a doubling of installed capacity in just 3 years.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e1725bd568a8385ec3a3615f71b88b9f63cd9e711ecce25ea065c39a73d21ec7.png

          • James Thomson 2 years ago

            You could quadrupal it, it still doesn’t scale. The more you try to add the more obvious this becomes. He made this point several times. Also, these are capacity factors. With wind and solar the actual output – the power you actually get – is roughly a third of the capacity factor. Which partly explains why – after 20 years – wind and solar account for less than 2% of world electricity production.

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            Your guy (who talks like a football coach – like he’s trying too hard to convince people) was speaking in March 2015. He was using 2013 data. Solar photovoltaics have indeed nearly quadrupled since 2013. At the time renewables were showing a pattern of scaling, and they have continued along that pattern of scaling in subsequent years. Just look at the above chart. So far your guy and his little theory have proved to be wrong.

            Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia will join the party when renewables cross a price threshold, and that will be driven by the massive volumes of renewables production for demand in China, India, the US and Japan, along with several others in the Middle East and South America …… and Australia.

            Have a look at the above chart, capacity is continuing to scale, which means renewable energy generated – capacity x capacity factor – is also growing at scale. So capacity factor is irrelevant, except for one minor point – the capacity factor of renewables is constantly improving under huge R&D investment!

          • Miles Harding 2 years ago

            only 3 doublings to 100%

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Yep. Won’t the RWNJs go puce.
            The industrial size installations are already subsidy free, and panel prices are falling so fast that STCs are not needed.
            Canavan and Frydenberg will be chewing the carpet.

          • James Thomson 2 years ago

            “Other” is mostly hydro. For solar and wind it’s less than 2 percent. https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-how-much-energy-does-the-world-get-from-renewables

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            Your link is 2014 data. Ancient history in terms data of the high growth rate of the installed capacity of renewables.

            In 2018 the world will have nearly triple the installed capacity of solar photovoltaics that it did in 2014.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e1725bd568a8385ec3a3615f71b88b9f63cd9e711ecce25ea065c39a73d21ec7.png

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            It’s 12.5% you dick tard.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Chill out, Ren.
            He finally revealed his source, a book published in 2009 although he didn’t say that. I Googled the title, and there was author an publication date, so the data could well have been correct in 2008.
            I have given him a spray.
            No wonder he wouldn’t give any citations.
            But I knew it was you from the email header.
            What hydro said.
            You have good stuff to say. Don’t let yourself down.

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            Just getting warmed up.

          • James Thomson 2 years ago

            https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-how-much-energy-does-the-world-get-from-renewables The data is correct now. Getting “a spray” from you is like being flogged with a wet lettuce.

          • Electric Boogaloo 2 years ago

            If Australia sources 100% of its electricity from renewables in 12 to 15 years, I’ll put the barrel of my loaded shotgun in mouth and you can pull the trigger.

            I’m not suicidal, I’m just extremely confident that it’s not going to happen.

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            Please bet your house, not your… more important bits… if you must.

          • Sir John Maga 2 years ago

            When electricity is 100% renewable, pigs will fly in battery powered drones!

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Mmmm.
            They would have to be pretty big drones to carry pigs. Big animals, pigs.

          • Sir John Maga 2 years ago

            Indeed.

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            Please bet your house, not your… more importants…

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            I see you have backed away from your very edgy bet……Sensibly due the growth rate of renewables and storage. We want to see you live comfortably and report this incredible growth of renewable energy, objectively.

          • Sir John Maga 2 years ago

            Please. You are not out of the woods yet. I watch your wildly fluctuating electricity prices. Where else in the word can you see $14,000 per MW electricity one minute, and minus $50 the next. Only down under! Blame the coal companies if you must, but the real culprit is wind. The variability of wind mate, and more wind you add, the worse it will become.

            If you want to see the future, take a look at Germany. On May 1st,
            they set a wind and solar record, complete with negative pricing
            and all the fanfare, but like it was scripted by Donald Trump himself,
            wind virtually stops for the next 5 days! Thank god for coal!

            https://www dot energy-charts dot de/power dot htm?source=all-sources&year=2018&week=18

          • Giles 2 years ago

            Great, so tell us why those prices fluctuate the same way in Queensland, with no large scale renewables (not a single one), and 80% coal?

          • Sir John Maga 2 years ago

            Couldn’t tell you. Best ask a local. Most probably the result of the grid being burdened
            heavily by the wind outage in SA.

          • Giles 2 years ago

            So all of a sudden you don’t know. Tell you why, coal or gas plants tripping, network outages. Nothing to do with wind, my friend, take your trolling elsewhere.

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            Have a closer look at the actual energy generated. Solar complements wind during such low pressure systems (or high pressure systems here in the SH). Wind + solar generated more energy than brown coal during that 5 day period. In only 3 out of the 5 days did they have to bring more black coal generation online.

            https://www.energy-charts.de/energy.htm?source=all-sources&period=daily&year=2018&week=18

            You are not giving wind technology enough credit – technological
            advancement has seen it be able to generate more power
            during lower wind speeds. The revolution happening in the field of
            energy storage will see that also progressively complement wind + solar.

          • Sir John Maga 2 years ago

            If you care to get real inquisitive, here is the real culprit. Mother Nature.
            A huge blocking high pressure area over Europe, getting ready
            to bomb them right back into the stone age. With all their pretty
            little windmills stationary, only coal and nuclear will keep the lights on.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c45bb624270e71d09e74473e98576bca6da76955b39ef79875737f2b20a6d099.gif

          • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

            Natural gas is cheap in the US. Between gas and renewables, some coal and nuclear plants in the US are ALREADY going broke, especially the older ones with maintenance issues.

          • Giles 2 years ago

            That data is 10 years old. Bit like asking how many cars were on the road in 1870.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            I very told him that, GIles but he won’t accept it.

          • James Thomson 2 years ago

            Then check the current IEA data for 2018. Ask the editors of Renew Economy – like the IEA they’re pro wind and solar but they won’t deny the simple fact that, hydro and burning biomas aside, wind and solar currently, in 2018, contribute less than 2% to world electricity production. It hasn’t shifted much in ten years and that tells the story. I am not a denier. I just think another technology can do the job that renewables can’t. For this I get abused.

          • Giles 2 years ago

            Well, i don’t think i’ve ever heard anyone describe the IEA as pro-wind and solar. They are notorious for constantly underestimating deployment, and over-estimating costs.
            The fact that you are citing stories from the climate denier Jo Nova and treating her garbage as gospel suggests you not really interested in emissions reductions either. Climate denial and nuclear support often go hand in hand.
            But let’s play your game, ill informed as it is. The IEA’s data for 2016 show that wind and solar contributed just over 5% of electricity production. Furthermore, they say that by 2040, in order to meet the climate goals you say you want to achieve at the same time as subscribing to a climate denial website, that wind and solar will be producing 10 times the production of nuclear, and way more than coal.
            The idiot MP Craig Kelly – like you, someone who depends on climate denier website and nuclear ranters – raised the same issues as you, and this is what we had to say.
            https://reneweconomy.com.au/craig-kelly-slams-reneweconomy-shameless-propaganda-arm-of-green-rent-seekers-99670/

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Giles IS the editor of Renew Economy, you idiot.

          • James Thomson 2 years ago

            Strictly speaking, I’d be asking how many cars were on the road in 1998. Bit of a difference.

          • Giles 2 years ago

            Not really. 1998 was not an inflection point for cars. you’ve quoted stats before the global investment boom in wind and solar.

          • John Saint-Smith 2 years ago

            “most economically”? I think you mean “comically”. Nuclear power cannot contain its wastes or the cost of containing those wastes. It is centralized power that maintains the hegemony of the 1%, and there is no future for mankind down that neo-con rabbit hole, as they have already ably demonstrated.

          • Miles Harding 2 years ago

            There are limits.
            Even after pushing all the control rods in, the reactor continues at about 40% or so, as the fission by-products break down.

            Nuclear fuels are not produced by any renewable process, so will be exhausted the same as fossil fuels are being. Fusion has the potential of having a much large fuel store, but stubbornly remains 50 years in the future.

            A few years back, New Scientist published a story on ‘peak Uranium’, indicating the limits on the world’s supplies. Ignoring the obvious cost and environmental issues, the story indicated that uranium reserves could be exhausted within 50 years if adoption is widespread.

          • Electric Boogaloo 2 years ago

            There are thousands of years worth of Uranium in known reserves and most likely thousands more in unknown reserves.

            As prices increase, more will be discovered and known reserves that currently aren’t mined become economic to mine. Fortunately, fuel costs represent a very tiny part of the lifecycle cost of fission plants so a doubling in the price of fuel only increases the cost of electricity by a tiny amount.

            With the use of breeder reactors existing reserves can be extended to tens of thousands of years and that’s not including using Thorium.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            We’re going to be spilling solar and wind in the middle of they say I in australia by the time we get to about 60% renewables. How’s nuclear at ramping zero to omen hindred percent twice daily? Yeah thought so, put some up the maintaknance costs a lot and kill some the generation numbers.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Alastair, you need to edit.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            We so need to get electric vehicles to soak up that midday excess by charging in shopping centre and workplace carpark, then being able to release some of the charge at home overnight, while overnight wind excess pushes water uphill in multiple small PHES sites.
            The pieces will all fit together, if only the rotten pollies would get out of the way.

          • Electric Boogaloo 2 years ago

            Legitimate question: How are the rotten pollies standing in the way?

            I know of one pumped-hydro system that is being planned in South Australia and has even received funding from the rotten pollies.

          • Electric Boogaloo 2 years ago

            Why would a fission plant ramp from 0-100%?

            Have you ever taken a look at the load profile of the National Electricity Market? There are gigawatts of coal-fired generation capacity always in play! At no point in time does the load fall to 0MW.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            Reread my comment. Alternatively download the AEMO Statements of Opportunity and/or their reports that discuss grid demand minimum trends. AEMO have a track record of being exceedingly conservative about PV growth.

            And grid demand doesn’t have to even get to zero to have baseload generation like coal and nuclear in major worlds of pain if it becomes a regularity.

          • Electric Boogaloo 2 years ago

            A week or two ago in SA there was no wind for a whole week and the state was reliant upon gas and imports.

            What’s the cost of renewables generation overbuild and storage to handle extended periods of low production like that? Now add on the extra load from electrified transport.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            So you are changing the subject, is that it?

          • Electric Boogaloo 2 years ago

            No, you’re the one who talked about SA exporting energy at 50% renewables and “spilling” electricity at 60% renewables.

            I’m merely pointing out that there are a lot of times when SA is importing electricity and burning a lot of gas and that these periods can last for durations exceeding a week.

            If you want to go with only renewables, you need to factor in the cost of overbuilding generation and sufficient storage to be able to buffer energy for these periods of low production.

            If you go with fission, you don’t have to go to that extra expense or worry that you have enough to get through the lulls because it delivers a constant amount of emissions-free power around the clock.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            The bit that people like you dont seem to get is that nobody in Australia and no nation in the world is going to build nukes for the first time to cover a few weeks of winter wind droughts. Nowhere. I’m sorry if that’s a pain in the butt for your business, but that’s just how it is dude. Nuclear in Australia loses on price, social licence, time-frame, waste popularity, GHG emissions footprint c.f. wind & solar, and political possibilities. But hey, start a nuclear energy party, the last guys that did that changed the name and removed almost all references to nukes, good luck, not.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Why don’t you cut him loose, Alastair?
            You can’t argue with, or educate stupid.

          • Electric Boogaloo 2 years ago

            What people like you don’t seem to get is that there’s always fossil fuels being burnt in SA, even when it’s exporting power.

            If you’re that for greenhouse gases why are we even bothering with with all this malarkey when we could just stick to burning dirt-cheap brown coal in cheap sub-critical plants?

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            For one thing Coal couldn’t compete with Wind on price in SA, they retired from the market. BUt don’t let facts get in your way on the way out.

          • Electric Boogaloo 2 years ago

            If the current AEMO rules for SA grid operation were in place back then, coal would not have been shut down because it was cheaper than gas.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            Er, the AEMO can tell a private company (Alinta in that case) you aren’t allow to shut your business down?! Nice planet you live on, EB!

          • Electric Boogaloo 2 years ago

            …and as we know now after the infamous SA blackout, AEMO didn’t have its finger on the ball at all.

            That’s why now there are now those rules limiting imports and wind generation and mandating a minimum level of domestic fossil-fuel generation in SA.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            You obviously don’t have any comprehension about the economics of energy in general and the economics of nuclear specifically. If a NPP were of large enough capacity to cover a winter wind drought they’d need to be running at 90% CF all year long and still wouldn’t be cheaper than RE because their OPEX is higher. So how would they compete? Sell power 2-4 weeks a year? Yeah really.

          • Electric Boogaloo 2 years ago

            Uhh… the nuclear fission plant would run all the time so why would it only sell power for 2-4 weeks a year?

            You seem to be under the impression that electricity customers prefer to purchase intermittent and unpredictable supply over a stable and consistent supply.

            My whole argument is that the cost of making intermittent and unpredictable supplies into stable and consistent emission-free supplies is greater than that of nuclear fission.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            I know the argument you put out there, just not aware of any supporting evidence. Model it and show us the model.

            Wind and solar are *very* predictable in terms of the one hour and five minute trading spot market. Just ask our AEMO!

          • Electric Boogaloo 2 years ago

            We’re not talking about one-hour or five-minute trading though, we’re talking about delivering a consistent supply of energy over extended periods of time.

            I find it interesting how anti-nuclear people keep trying to change the topic when facts don’t agree with the dogma.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            I don’t care what interests you EB. I have modelling to say that an islanded grid like the SWIS in SW WA can go to 85% (at least) by 2030 for the same price as continuing with coal and gas and replacing aging plants with new ones, including $30/T price on carbon.

            This is assuming LCoE prices for wind and solar that are higher than what were being bid last year in other states of Australia. We know that these prices are falling 22% every two years at least for PV (50% in he last two years some reports say) and wind doubles its deployment globally every 3 years and has a more mature/gentle learning curve.

            Nuclear is not especially complementary to variable renewables, even in France where some nukes can technically ramp (but it hurts their economics) they need a lot of hydro and energy imports and exports to Germany to allow nuclear to run as baseload generators. And seeing as wind and solar are so much cheaper than nuclear in Australia (which would take fifteen years to get a large NPP exporting to the grid at least from where we are today with zero social licence in Sa the lost nuclear wntuistic state in Australia) then nuclear is always going to have to concede on merit order to whatever wind and solar are on the grid. There’s no model I’ve seen where it can get the economics ight in this country. Apart from the raft of other envirnomental problems it just is way out of the ballpark on economics. Not a chance.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            You are very patient with him, Alastair.
            I don’t think he reads the replies to his drivel. He certainly gives no indications of having taken any notice.
            Just saying.
            😝

          • James Thomson 2 years ago

            Precisely.

          • hydrophilia 2 years ago

            Forget base load: if one has enough storage to match the best production curves (a flat line, as you have pointed out, in the case of nuclear or coal) match demand, the only questions are cost per joule and the capital risk. My understanding is that cost per joule is lower for wind and PV than for nuclear and the risk that a nuclear plant may have huge cost overruns or may even be “surplus to requirements” when it comes on-line in a decade or so means that no private money is going into them. Now, this COULD change if the small modular reactors turn out as their boosters hope…. but I’m not holding my breath.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Absolutely, and the answer cannot be nuclear.
            Cost to build, to staff, to fuel, to insure, to store the waste, to decommission, all these costs must be recovered from the sale of the power.
            How can that possibly compete with the relatively tiny costs of installing wind and solar?
            No fuel costs. Minimal maintenance, minimal staff.
            That’s why nuclear plants in the US are going bust.
            Read this, and then I’m going to block you.
            I have no time for fools.

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            Hettie, “hydro” did make the point about cost.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Ach. Sorry Hydro, I intended to reply to James Thompson, or Booga not you. And have blocked him. Them . Both. Was very tired.
            Thanks Ren for pointing out my error of addressing that.

          • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

            ‘At that point, the question becomes “which can produce power most cheaply?” ‘

            That question has already been answered; it’s wind that’s cheapest now, closely followed by solar. Next is coal, then natural gas, then oil, and dead last as the most expensive is nuclear fission. By the time transportation is electrified, solar and wind may have switched places and both will have increased their price advantage over all the others.

          • hydrophilia 2 years ago

            Agreed…. although I tend to look at all sides and, IF the specific new nuclear technology comes out that can burn the waste down to near nothing (rather than simply forever being decades in the future or other unforeseen issues) and IF the cost/benefits work out, I’d support that as well. Note: this is not the same as the normal 2g or 3g reactors.
            So, you could say I am open to nukes… and am open to seeing pigs fly. In the meantime, wind and solar and storage seem wise and wonderful.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Open to nuclear and to seeing pigs fly.
            Love it.
            Wind, solar and storage are turning out to be willing workhorses. Competitive nuclear power is a unicorn.

          • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

            “So, you could say I am open to nukes… and am open to seeing pigs fly. “

            Agree with enthusiasm.

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          Give it a rest.

        • Alexander Hromas 2 years ago

          China’s nuclear industry is state supported and it goes ahead because of this. If fact the only countries that have started building nuclear power plants have done so with government backing. All of the western nuclear reactor builders are broke on on government support. No one in the west wants to buy a Russian reactor because of their poor safety system designs and all commercial investors are scared because of the unending cleanup bills if things go seriously wrong. If we were to build a nuclear power station in Oz the government would have to fund it and build it. The current mob could not organize a piss up in a brewery even if you provided bottle openers what chance of them building something as complex as a nuke

    • Hettie 2 years ago

      The climate change body sacked by Abbott on about his second one day in office, reconvened itself as the Climate Council, and is supported entirely by public donations.
      Tim Flannery is still at the helm.
      I provide $20 per month of my pension. Anyone in full time employment who bought a house 20 years ago could do far more.
      Check out their Facebook page.

      • John Saint-Smith 2 years ago

        Thank you Hettie, as do I. Anyone who has a heartbeat should do all in their power to rid Australia, and the world of this Lying Nasty Party and its traitorous Turncoat of an unleader= he who wears the crown, but is the prisoner of his own ego. Anything less is our shame.

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          The reckless destruction of all our social services, the transfer of the nation’s wealth to overseas corporations to the detriment of the people, the willing obedience to the coal and mining lobbies should indeed be counted as treason.
          Refusal to even try to ameliorate the effects and limit the scope of climate change is, and should be prosecuted as a crime against humanity.

          • Joe 2 years ago

            ‘Treason’, grounds for prosecution…put them in the dock!

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          You have a presence on The Conversation, as do I. Tim Forcey has a presence on Facebook.
          If everyone in any comment stream or Facebook group beats the same drum, shares any anti coalition material we find, tells the truth in *simple* terms, we can beat Murdoch at his own game.
          My election tag line is, “When you vote, be sure to put the Coalition last. That’s where they put you!”

    • Greg Hudson 2 years ago

      ”China is starting to tell us what to do (recycling,”
      Yes, you are right there… China is telling us, by BANNING imports of Australian recycleable materials. Now how does that make sense? We now have to pay $100 more per year per household to BURY what should be going to China !
      It beggars belief. (And I don’t understand WHY this is happening).

      • Hettie 2 years ago

        In part, I think, it’s happening because the waste we ship to China is very poorly sorted. Too much contamination with other waste.
        Also because in typical Australian fashion, there has been no local development of the processes that turn plastic waste into such useful things as rot proof fence posts and boards, road building material, structural insulating panels and so on. Nor have the mountains of glass waste been used to substitute for sand in concrete and related products, or again, road building.
        There are many and varied uses for most “waste” products, but for some incomprehensible reason, Australia is very reluctant to do anything but dig rocks out of the ground and sell them overseas for far less than they would earn as finished products.
        Insane.

    • Andy Wilkins 2 years ago

      China are playing you thermageddonists for the gullible fools that you are. Just check out how many coal-fired power stations they are building.

  2. Alastair Leith 2 years ago

    What is worse? Not accepting climate science in spite of 98%+ consensus
    level amongst climate scientists — or accepting it & then
    intellectually coming to the insanely wrong conclusion that we don’t
    need to act now? Both contain moral bankruptcy, but to me the later is
    far worse.

  3. Joe 2 years ago

    The solution is in the hands of the punters to vote out The ‘COALition Climate Criminals’ when the next election comes. It is been all but useless in banging our heads at the illogical and nonsense actions of the Abbott /Turnbull Federal Government. They are never going to change course on climate change action no matter what the science or the impacts of climate change that are being felt. They / The ‘COALition Climate Criminals’ just have to be gotten rid of next election. We just can’t have another 3 years of nothing on top of the last 5 years already wasted.

    • nakedChimp 2 years ago

      To bad mainstream media (the propaganda machine) is on the FF side.

      • Andy Wilkins 2 years ago

        You have got to be joking. The media have fully hitched themselves to the CAGW band-wagon

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          Wot? AGW I get. What does the initial C stand for?
          And the Murdoch media is rock solid in denying AGRAND deriding renewables.

          • nakedChimp 2 years ago

            ‘catastrophic’