Micallef on Tesla big battery: Is it cruel to store electrons? | RenewEconomy

Micallef on Tesla big battery: Is it cruel to store electrons?

Comedian Shaun Micallef sends up opponents to battery storage and wind farms in the best skit on energy matters since Clarke and Dawe.


The world’s biggest lithium ion storage installation has been operating for less than three months, and already it is the subject of comedy skits.

Comedian Shaun Micallef, in his Mad as Hell program on ABC TV, produced a little gem this week with a spoof about the so-called Tesla big battery and the opponents of new renewable and storage technology.

It’s not often comedians get stuck into the energy market, as complex and opaque as it is, but some have given it a good shake, notably Clarke and Dawe with this masterpiece last year in one of their last collaborations before Clarke’s sudden death.

In the Micallef skit, protestors surround the Tesla big battery and demand that the electrons stored there be set free and not locked in a cage. Storing electrons is cruel, says one.

“The sun and the wind are natural sources or power, they shouldn’t be locked in some cage like an animal, they should be wild and free like lightning or a hurricane.”

Then there’s the bloke from the neighbouring wind farm – and Micallef’s team deftly and hilariously mock the objections of a long line of wind farm critics.

“There are plenty of clean, renewable, inexpensive alternatives to wind, imported black coal from India for example. I’ve got nothing against wind but what happens when the wind stops blowing”?

“It’s a point made by many others who also don’t know what they’re talking about,” the skit continues, and promptly shows images of Barnaby Joyce, Donald Trump and former ABC and now Nine Network journalist Chris Uhlmann.

It was all rather timely given the furore over the ABC’s editorial standards, and questions over why Uhlmann’s analysis of South Australia’s blackouts passed the ABC editorial muster, when analysis from economics correspondent Emma Alberici did not.

Alberici had the cheek to suggest there was no case for tax cuts for business. That was clearly against government policy. Uhlmann stated in his “analysis” that the pursuit of wind and solar would lead to nationwide blackouts. Apparently, that was OK.

The Micallef skit is worth a look. You’ll need to go on to ABC ‘s I-View platform to see it (25mins in)

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  1. MaxG 3 years ago

    For those interested in the video section: it starts at 22 min 56 sec.
    And there is always the bias between what journalism servers the government and which does not.

    • Joe 3 years ago

      So sad Baaaananabee resigning….I was looking forward to some more of the ‘two duelling dickheads’ Turnbull & Joyce going at it in public.

      • Peter Campbell 3 years ago

        Now we will have both Joyce and Abbott not sniping or wrecking from the backbench.

        • Joe 3 years ago

          Interesting Times…..

      • Ken Dyer 3 years ago

        It will be really nice not to have to put up with Beetrooter Barnyard at Question Time.

        • Alan S 3 years ago

          He’ll probably give Q&A a miss.

    • Carl Raymond S 3 years ago

      So who’s next in line to serve Gina Rinehart and protect the coal industry?

      • john 3 years ago

        Mat Conniving will be there to do his bit

        • Ken Dyer 3 years ago

          Will someone tell Canavan the clown that Australia is about to lose $6 Billion in coal exports, because South Korea doesn’t want our coal anymore, and japan is working on phasing out coal too.

          • john 3 years ago

            This will be tough for NSW as they are the major Thermal Coal exporters.
            Majority of Qld is met coal.
            As you say every country is closing down Thermal Coal plants or just not building them.
            Situation alert not good for coal especially when you read this.

          • Ken Dyer 3 years ago

            NSW is in all sorts of trouble with coal, ranging from proposed mines bigger than Adani’s white elephant, to insufficient rail capacity to move coal to export terminals, to depleted stockpiles for domestic use, to a potential pollution and poisoning of the entire Sydney water supply from mining. Then you have the problem of ageing coal fired power stations, with all but one being over 30 years old, and significant under investment in renewable energy compared to other States.
            Oh that’s right, the PM and the former Deputy PM of the Federal COALition comes from NSW. makes you wonder, dont it?

          • john 3 years ago

            Yes Ken and looking at the LCOE of the various producers of power for a grid and put it together with storage yes a given I do not see a place for nuclear that is certain and coal is on the way out.

          • Joe 3 years ago

            And still the NSW COALition Govt. is approving coal expansions.

          • Ian 3 years ago

            Apparently the Koreans still want to mine Coal at the Wallarah2? site near Wyong

          • john 3 years ago

            More fool them have you looked at what the Government in Korea wish to do?
            Get rid of coal fired electricity plants this does not look good for that project.
            edit yes you did.

          • Joe 3 years ago

            …well there is still India and their millions that only Aussie Coal can…. ‘lift out of energy poverty’.

          • Coley 3 years ago

            Aye whey, Australia could still send some to Newcastle (U.K.) we still seem to be importing the dirty stuff, despite closing our own coal mines.

          • david_fta 3 years ago

            Japan phasing out coal?

            Crikey, don’t tell the Minerals Council, they’re running that ad featuring a lady kissing her children goodbye to get the bus to got to Japan to see how the Isigo Thermal Power Station in Yokhama is “making the future possible”.

          • Ken Dyer 3 years ago

            Perhaps someone could send this to the MCA


      • Joe 3 years ago

        …’Italiano Matteo”…is next up to the…. trough.

    • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

      “And Bananabee just resigned as Dep PM”

      The Kraken has released itself !!!

  2. Alan S 3 years ago

    If there was a cable across to Indonesia that big battery would supply them and Australia combined for only 3 milliseconds. Another useless fact that’s worth mentioning.

    • Ian 3 years ago

      Every millisecond counts.

    • Brunel 3 years ago

      The ALP will not even build a cable from Perth to Sydney.

      • Andrew Scott 3 years ago

        Nor even 250 kms from Whyalla-Cultana across Eyre Peninsula to the big wind resource along its west coast.

        • Brunel 3 years ago

          What do you mean by wind resource? What postcode are you talking about and do wind turbines exist in that postcode.

          • Andrew Scott 3 years ago


            The Southern Ocean and the waters of the Great Australian Bight drive strong wind systems across the 500 kilometres long west coast of Eyre Peninsula.
            It is a sparsely populated region, with relatively few small towns such as Coffin Bay PC 5607, Venus Bay 5607, Elliston 5670, Streaky Bay 5680, Ceduna 5690 and Penong and Fowlers Bay both PC 5690

            In 2010 Worley Parsons and Baker & McKenzie prepared a report about the wind resources of Eyre peninsula, then reckoned to exceed 10,000 MW
            The title is:
            “GREEN GRID,
            A feasibility assessment of transmission and generation potential for 2000 MW of wind energy in the Eyre Peninsula”

            There are only 2 small windfarms, the 66 MW Cathedral Rocks and 70 MW Mt Miller, on the Peninsula. This is principally due to the constraint of the very old and unreliable low capacity single circuit 132KV that runs down the Centre of the Peninsula.

            Refer to http://www.renewablessa.gov.au for more info about the state of renewables in SA

          • Alastair Leith 3 years ago

            makes more sense to me than a 2000 MW interconnector from Perth to Sydney/Victorian wind resources. B/c that’s the capacity you’d need to run the SWIS for a week in winter without gas. But we have excellent wind and solarPV/CST resources in WA inside the SWIS perimetre, why import just for a couple of weeks a year (four or five at worst). Also drowning in fossil gas until we get to 100% RE, and at 85% we’d be using a third fo the gas we burn on the SWIS today.

      • Alastair Leith 3 years ago

        Still rooting for that, Brunel? Put up a cost benefit analysis that doesn’t make for an amusing read.

        • Brunel 3 years ago

          The 12 subs will only last 30 years each.

          • Alastair Leith 3 years ago
          • Brunel 3 years ago

            It is like buying a fridge for $5000 and worrying about the cost of a fridge magnet that your daughter wants.

            Or buying a new BMW for $70k and then refusing to turn on the bedroom air conditioner to try and save money.

            The subs could have been imported for half the price – the contract was signed to ensure that Christopher Pyne wins the seat after the LNP refused to give a paltry $0.5 billion to the car factories. Where is the cost-benefit analysis of the subs?

            The subs are slated to cost $50 billion and Turnbull will lose the 2018 election anyway.

            Negative gearing costs $10 billion per year and produces nothing.

            But let us go up the wall about the cost of a UHVDC transmission line from WA to NSW that would cost $5-10 billion and last for 40-50 years. Maybe 100 years. It would provide savings by reducing transmission losses from SA to Vic to NSW. And increase the reliability of the grid – enough solar panels will be installed to power SYD on a hot day along with enough solar panels to power PER on a hot day. When it is raining on SYD, it is not necessarily raining on PER.

          • Alastair Leith 3 years ago

            Sorry, are you putting up a SWAT for the WestLink or pointing out the flaws in pork barrel politics?

          • Brunel 3 years ago

            Where is the SWAT for the 12 subs.

            “China’s state-owned electricity utility, is halfway through a plan to spend $88bn on UHVDC lines between 2009 and 2020. It wants 23 lines in operation by 2030.”

            “India has two lines on the drawing-board, and should have more.”

            “Other routes to a cleaner grid are possible, such as distributed solar power and battery storage. But to bring about a zero-carbon grid, UHVDC lines will play a role. China has its foot on the gas. Others should follow.”


            The article is dumbed down as it does not say how many GW but it seems to be 12 GW over 3000 km.

            Professor Sadoway says that batteries allow the grid to be built for average load rather than peak load. Obviously the batteries should be installed in SYD and PER while the power stations can be anywhere along the UHVDC line.

          • Alastair Leith 3 years ago

            Yes batteries or PHES or molten salts thermal storage (inefficient) average load for larger quantities, that’s why I said 25% of peak demand maximum. But you need to run it flat out at night to charge storage and also power when no wind or solar for two weeks. Not as easy as you might think, we’ve modelled it at SEN.

          • Alastair Leith 3 years ago

            That’s a very fat pipe to cover even 25% of NSW’s peak demand maximum (14,111 MW Summer, 13,071 MW Winter Peak demand Max in NSW 2016-17, AEMO).

    • Mike Shackleton 3 years ago

      Well, that’s the stupidest argument I’ve heard all day.

  3. Robert Comerford 3 years ago

    Thanks for the tip, a great skit. Would have gone over many heads unfortunately.

  4. Calamity_Jean 3 years ago

    The Clarke and Dawe skit is very funny. Too bad Mr. Micallef’s work isn’t on an international platform so I can see it here in the US.

  5. itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

    This is much funnier:


    English subtitles are available. Obviously it helps to be familiar with “in” Dutch jokes, but the idea that the Energy Minister would put his d**k in a toaster if the EU told him it was underpants I’m sure translates to the Australian predicament.

    • Alastair Leith 3 years ago

      Especially the biomass scam @7:50

  6. Les Johnston 3 years ago

    Great humour and well worth the look. Humour is great for science.

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