The case against Tesla and battery storage just hit peak stupid | RenewEconomy

The case against Tesla and battery storage just hit peak stupid

AFR’s Chanticleer column writes article about battery storage so absurd and stupid it beggars belief that it was published. Such is the state of the energy debate in Australia. It’s not just politicians and vested interests that are letting consumers down, it’s the media.


energy storageIt is clearly getting under their skin, this battery storage technology, and its potential as a “game changer” in the energy industry.

We’ve had the politicians mocking Tesla’s big battery as little more than a “Big Banana”, and the far right railing against it because it’s not coal, and taking umbrage when the likes of AGL dare suggest a big battery as a possible partial substitute for an old generator like Liddell.

But the case against battery storage has just hit peak stupid.

It came in an article in Australian Financial Review over the weekend, under the authorship of one of its “Chanticleer” columnists, Michael Smith, and supposedly quoting Snowy Hydro CEO Paul Broad and its CFO Gordon Wyler from an interview and a “previously unreleased presentation”.

The article makes claims about the cost comparisons of pumped hydro and battery storage are so absurd that it is stunning to think that it could be repeated in a leading business journal, let alone the back-page column that claims to the country’s most authoritative.

But such is the state of the energy debate in Australia. It’s not just politicians that are letting consumers down, it’s the media. And it’s hard to know whether the journalists are too lazy, too stupid, or too conflicted to do any different.

Take this paragraph as one example:

“Snowy estimates five fully charged Tesla Powerwall home batteries provide 70 kilowatt-hours of storage, but this would only last a household 3.5 hours on a hot day if a modern air-conditioning unit was running.”

Now, we know that the energy industry is a complex beast, and it may be that Michael Smith has written little about it and so struggles with some of its finer points, and perhaps he doesn’t live in a house or use air-con.

But we wonder what sort of household air-con unit would actually consume 70kWh in just three hours. Mine – on economy mode – would struggle to consume 2kWh (two) in that time. Queensland homes, nearly all of which have air-con, have average daily consumption of 25kWh.

Those Tesla batteries would power those houses for 3 days at least, even if there wasn’t any sun to recharge them.

And then there was this: Snowy estimates that using pumped hydro as storage would add just $40 a year to household electricity costs, but using battery storage would cause individual household bills to surge by up to $6,000 a year.

Even if Chanticleer had thought about this claim ever so briefly – say for about five seconds – the author might have cottoned on that this was just nonsense.

For a start, anyone facing a four-fold increase in electricity bills to more than $8,000 a year might just as well cut the cord and go off-grid, with battery storage. It would be far cheaper.

The claim that Snowy Hydro could generate the power of 200 million fully charged Powerwalls is also bizarre. To draw such a comparison is to confuse the role of different forms of storage. 200 million Powerwalls is equivalent to 1000GW – about 30 times more than peak load in Australia, and significantly more than Snowy at its peak.

That peak could be met by just 7 million Powerwalls – or one in each Australian home, and the household could make big savings on the cost to consumers of grid power, which Snowy and the AFR seem to completely ignore.

And households don’t need 175 hours of storage – around 6-8 hours is more than enough for most to get through the night, and with a oversized PV system on the roof and sensible load management this can be reduced further

You can’t put a pumped hydro scheme in the attic, but a battery does easily fit on the wall and is already showing consumers save money – as the AFR itself noted in November last year in this story: “Tesla’s Powerwall can pay for itself in 6 years

The examples were used to push Broad’s claim that batteries of the scale spoken of in South Australia and elsewhere don’t make “any economic sense” at all. But that is just not true.

The point is, no one is suggesting that batteries are used for all storage. There is quite clearly some uses where battery storage has clear advantages – fast response, network security, short-term time shifting, emergency back-up power, displacing the cost of grid maintenance.


Networks have been putting in battery storage because it is clearly cheaper than upgrading infrastructure, they have been using them in micro-grids to either cut the costs of elongated lines, or to provide the cheapest and surest means of grid security.

They are also starting to compete in markets such as energy and frequency control and ancillary services.

One of the reasons they do not yet compete on an equal footing – and the reason they need some level of support such as Tesla’s big battery – is because the market rules are against them, favouring  comparatively slow moving technologies of the type in Broad’s portfolio – gas peaking plants and pumped hydro.

One way to fix that is to shift the settlement period from 30 minutes to 5 minutes, to recognise the ability of battery storage to respond quickly, and to reduce the gaming that obviously occurs – quite legally, apparently, in the market.

Who have campaigned fiercely against those changes? The big generation companies, and Snowy Hydro among them.

Snowy Hydro has also been active in the market to ensure that it is gaining the maximum price and revenues for its government shareholders.

Read this report from the Australian Energy Regulator, and this story: High energy prices: Blame fossil fuel generators, not renewables, on how government owned Snowy and Origin took advantage of a system constraint, bidding prices down to the point where Victoria generators had to exit the market, before then bidding the prices back up for extended periods.

There is a clear case for pumped hydro, whether it be Snowy 2.0, Tassie 2.0, or the projects like Cultana in South Australia, Genex in Queensland, or the myriad community scale projects.

Storage in Australia’s grid will likely be a mixture of batteries, pumped hydro and solar thermal, and may be others, and these technologies will dovetail  the increasing penetration of wind and solar, and distributed generation.

So why is Snowy running so scared and mounting such a ridiculous campaign against battery storage? Chanticleer  paints Broad as someone who is fighting against “vested interests” and politics, but this nonsense from a government owned utility speaks of exactly that.

But these are strange and curious times. The denial of climate science is one thing, the push for coal another. The argument against battery storage doesn’t add up.

To get this right, we need a reasoned debate. We are not likely to get it from the Murdoch media, which continues to make stuff up about the level of renewable energy subsidies. The AFR, owned by Fairfax, and Snowy Hydro, need to do better than serve up this sort of crap.

(Note: We sought to check with Snowy Hydro on Monday, but the media folk did not return our calls).



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  1. DevMac 3 years ago

    Is there any wonder that Murdoch’s print media is in financial difficulty? If this is any indication of how a paper, with the word FINANCIAL in it’s name no less, can get basic numbers and mathematics so terribly wrong, who’s buying it? (both the paper itself and the fallacies they’re pushing).

    I think they’re just shouting at their dwindling number of loyal supporters in a language they hope will retain as many of their loyal supporters as possible.

    • Giles 3 years ago

      The AFR is actually owned by Fairfax. I shall make that clear in the story. I thought it was well known.

      • DevMac 3 years ago

        I made the assumption. I should have known better. All print media is in trouble and trying to hold back the storm via similar grubby methods (I’m so enamoured with print media that I don’t know who publishes the AFR).

        My point about the word financial and getting the numbers wrong still stands, however. So, so wrong. Scary.

        (I’ll leave my above comment unedited, I’ll own my ignorance and learn from it).

        • Robin_Harrison 3 years ago

          It’s sublimely irrelevant which segment of wealth and influence owns which element of the mainstream media, none of it is published for your benefit. All of the mainstream media is used by its owners, the wealthy and influential, to manipulate you for their benefit. Truth, like ethical journalism, doesn’t exist in the mainstream media.

      • Joe 3 years ago

        With the change in Media Laws it won’t be long before the Rupert buys The AFR .

        • Steven Gannon 3 years ago

          He doesn’t need to. They are playing his tune anyway. Fairfax also majority owns 2GB.

          Giles, I got your recent message when it was stale. Thanks.

  2. Phil 3 years ago


    Peak Stupid really does sum Australia up at the moment

    China will buy us cheap

    • stucrmnx120fshwf 3 years ago

      Hey if 25% of our deserts, can make a trillion tonnes, of liquid hydrogen, why not ship it out, pay no taxes, get subsidies, in return for their old garbage coal fired power plants. The COALition would be happy to go for that.

  3. Brunel 3 years ago

    You should see what Peta Credlin said on Sky News…”it will cost $20 billion to replace Liddell with renewables”!

    • Roger Franklin 3 years ago

      If they wait a little longer – the public will install enough solar and batteries behind the grid to eliminate the need to replace Liddell with anything!

      Oh – I don’t think we have seen anything yet. I don’t think we are even close to reaching #PeakStupidity yet!

      • Brunel 3 years ago

        There should be a campaign to get ignorant grandpas to install solar panels on the roof. I know a few grandpas who have a house but no panels on the roof.

        • Miles Harding 3 years ago

          Take this as a challenge to ‘convert’ them.

          I have found it remarkablly difficult to convince many that they would be able to make substantial and immediate savings by going solar.

          • Frank Speaking 3 years ago

            A little true story.
            My 80+ aunt moved into a retirement village in Dandenong that had solar panels on each unit
            She is very frugal especially with power and was horrified at her first electricity account until her son pointed out it was a credit value and not a bill to be paid.
            And that is without storage, just early to bed early to rise
            Win for a pensioner and KUDO’s to the developers/builders

          • Giles 3 years ago

            that is such a good story. would be wonderful to tell it to a bigger audience and write an article about it. let me know if you think that is possible

          • Huntone 3 years ago
          • Huntone 3 years ago
          • Greg Hudson 3 years ago

            Hopefully they might have watched the mega story about solar/PowerWalls on A Current Affair last night (Mon 9 Oct 17).
            Here’s a link if you missed it…

          • Miles Harding 3 years ago

            Great link – that’s what I get for avoiding the TV.

            The examples in the story are really good. I will definitely make this part of my presentations.

            In the stages of acceptance to disruption, we seem to have crossed the ‘ridicule’ phase and are entering the ‘acceptance as obvious’ phase. Great credit to channel 9 here.

          • Greg Hudson 3 years ago

            However… They quoted the ‘value’ of a 5.4kW PV array + PW2 and including installation (I assume) at AU$21,999. I have had a quote for a 6kW+PW2 for $15k installed (assuming there is actually any stock of PW2’s left anywhere).

          • Huntone 3 years ago
          • Huntone 3 years ago
          • Huntone 3 years ago
          • solarguy 3 years ago

            You can’t educate f$%k wits, it’s like flogging a dead horse!

          • Huntone 3 years ago
          • Huntone 3 years ago
        • Grump3 3 years ago

          We’re not all as ignorant as you suggest. If this grandpa was 20 years younger I’d immediately go off grid but at my advanced age, sadly now living alone, with limited power consumption & remaining life expectancy, it still remains far cheaper to forget about installing solar panels.

          • Brunel 3 years ago

            Sorry to hear your plight. I mean the grandpas who are in their 60s and recently purchased a brand new car but refuse to put solar panels on the roof.

            Solar panels do not mean off-grid but I think you get your money back in 5 years.

          • Huntone 3 years ago
          • Roger Franklin 3 years ago

            Grump3 – I get where you are coming from, however the feeling cancelling the power bill combined with seeing the eyes of your grand children light up when they Grandpa’s Solar Stuff working is priceless! oh and even big kids love it too!
            Oh – and as you are online and actively commenting on articles – I think you have a long long way to go too!! Take care.

          • Huntone 3 years ago
          • Grump George 3 years ago

            Thanks to Hardie & recent confirmation of mesothelioma, I’ll be lucky to see next Xmas.

          • Huntone 3 years ago
      • GregS 3 years ago

        Never underestimate the human capacity for stupidity
        #PeakStupidity! Now that did give me a laugh

    • Rob G 3 years ago

      We could probably power all of Australia, on 100% renewable power, for that price…

    • trackdaze 3 years ago

      Dont watch sky or listen to peta credalin your IQ will thank you for it.

      • Brunel 3 years ago

        I find it hilarious to see the right wing talk about energy though.

        Paul Murray, Chris Kenny, Andrew Bolt talking about LNG and pretending they care about poor Aussies who are getting disconnected from the electricity grid = comedy.

        Not that PM Shorten will gave out a $950 cheque to each poor voter to ease inequality.

      • Huntone 3 years ago
    • Frank Speaking 3 years ago

      “The cost of solar PV has hit a stunning new low – with a bid for a
      300MW solar project in Saudi Arabia pitched at just $US1.79c/kWh – or
      $US17.9/MWh – with no subsidies.”

      Saudi is swinging to renewables

      A) make more money selling their oil they have been burning for power

      B) All thermo plants – coal, gas,oil,biomass, nuclear use copious quantities of water. SA has almost drained their massive aquifer with their wastefull extravagent use of that irreplaceable water

      “Renewables accounted for two-thirds of new power added to world’s grids last year, says International Energy Agency (IEA)”

      “The authority, which is funded by 28 member governments, admitted it
      had previously underestimated the speed at which green energy was

      • GregS 3 years ago

        Take that bid with a grain of salt, as it’s tied to the Saudi Government and probably contains a hidden subsidy. As a general rule, be wary of NAY claims made by the Saudis

        • neroden 3 years ago

          I read an analysis: it’s probably a real price.
          But with cash-up-front, no financing;
          and with the ridiculously high sunlight in Saudi Arabia

          Financing can double the cost of solar.

      • Peter Davies 3 years ago

        Our biomass plants do not need or use any water. As part of our own application development we have also looked at battery storage, for small business & rural use, with the gasifier providing day loads together with hot water & space heating and recharge of the battery. A 15/75kWh (up to 15kWe draw & 75kWh storage) flow battery is about $40,000, with far better performance specs and life expectancy than Li. I am unsure why the fixation with Tesla.

      • Huntone 3 years ago
  4. Steve159 3 years ago

    I wonder at what point would-be investors (e.g. in renewables) might start heading to lawyers, citing bad investment advice (missing out on renewables going gang-busters) from the AFR?

    Or the converse, thinking, as per AFR, investment in fossil fuels is still a smart call.

    • stucrmnx120fshwf 3 years ago

      Fossil fuel, stranded asset, as renewables and storage get cheaper, invest in big choking, lose your shirt.

  5. Chris Drongers 3 years ago

    A new low was hit in The Courier Mail on the weekend. The article on the contributions of retail, RET, distribution to retail electricity prices was honest enough.
    The new tactics were in the online comments section.
    “CAM” and a few other pseudonyms kept referring to the tight correlation of rising retail power prices with renewable power installations. But Cam & Co refused to refer to the tables and charts further down the page that showed increases in retail returns and distribution costs as contributing over 8 times as much to power prices as reneable targets.
    Repeated admonishment by less biased commentators could not get even an acknowledgement of the relevant table and charts.
    Other comments were that we should continue to build coal power stations to keep miners employed in their accustomed jobs and pensioners from getting their power cut off (direct gov payments anyone?)

    • Rod 3 years ago

      Funny, there is a CAM on the Adelaide Advertiser comments section too. Same crap too. Unfortunately there is no way to post a link there. Censors.
      The problem is the gullible public reading the forum and the printed comments section believe this crap. FAKENEWS has dire consequences as we know.

      • My_Oath 3 years ago

        There used to be a company called “Demand Media” listed on the NYSE. The company’s by-line was “Internet Content and Comment Solutions”.

        Fun fact: at one point they were responsible for 10% of Youtube’s advertising payments in about 2011. They contracted thousands of people to upload videos, then had those thousands of people watch the videos of the others and “Like Comment Subscribe” – particularly Comment. That one company is the reason why Google has been changing Youtube so much in the last few years, to stop a corporation of trolls from gaming the system. (Lance Armstrong was a major shareholder in Demand Media by the way”).

    • john 3 years ago

      This is atypical of the moderation on Murdoch Sites.
      Allow the inane stupid but delete any real information that actually points out the stupidity of the article

  6. Roger Franklin 3 years ago

    70kWh in three hours – what are they cooling………. A small Shopping Centre!


    • Joe 3 years ago

      …the worlds biggest Air Conner perhaps?

    • Tom 3 years ago

      I think he looked up the a “20kW heat pump” on the internet, and didn’t realise that it only drew 5kW of electrical power.

      • technerdx6000 3 years ago

        Even that’s massive!

    • Miles Harding 3 years ago

      Oh nooo!! Just a harbour side mansion!!

  7. Joe 3 years ago

    The AFR…there are no words. That Paul Broad is going hard against batteries is perhaps not a surprise. He runs the Snowy ( a Big battery of sorts ) and we know how in love Two Tongues Turnbull is with The Snowy and his little baby ‘Snowy 2.0’ if that ever does get off the ground. The Federal Government is all set to buy out the other two co owners of The Snowy, the NSW and Vic Govts, so the Snowy will be then 100% owned by The Federal Govt. So our man Paul Broad will be working for his new bestie and pro Snowy mate in Two Tongues Turnbull. This is where all their focus will be on..Snowy or Bust.

    • howardpatr 3 years ago

      Love the “Two Tongues Turnbull” – great description of the person who said in 2009 something along the lines that he would not lead a government as committed as he was to climate change.

      Would love to see ARENA show some initiative by bringing the technology of two US companies; EOS and ViZn to Australia for evaluation.

      Neither are based upon lithium which could be a big plus down the track.

      Both technologies might prove to be very suited to distributed ESSs with electricity generated by domestic solar being fed into them for later use. With the evolution of block chain technology this might be alternative to home batteries – just saying.

    • Andy Saunders 3 years ago

      To be fair, there’s probably a decent business case for Snowy 2.0 – it would have huge energy-storage capacity.

      And it would enable very large volumes of renewables to develop in NSW in particular.

      • Joe 3 years ago

        We will find out a few more answers once the ‘Snowy 2.0’ feasabilty study is completed by year’s end.

  8. Marg1 3 years ago

    Beggars belief, the stupidity of these people.

  9. Robert Westinghouse 3 years ago

    Stop all this BS. New Pumped Snowy is not going to happen. CET is not going to happen We WILL have black-outs this summer due to the LNP selling off the electricity industry. Now STOP it and let the people take control…we live in a democracy (unlike what Prince Trumbill thinks).
    As I have said before and it is not hard: 1) Increase subsidies on PV (not decrease then as they have done); 2) Increase rebates on Batteries; 3) Increase the feed-in tariff; 4) Stop thinking about coal. And one last thing, as Gran says vote this very bad man and his running dogs OUT!!!

    • Mags 3 years ago

      When you vote them out Abbott will return as opposition leader and spend the next three years rubbishing everything that is done. We need to focus on the fact that this man is at the heart of all energy problems in this country and he needs to LOOSE HIS SEAT, at the next election.

      • Robert Westinghouse 3 years ago

        Agreed – they all need to go. more PV more power to the people As Peter Finch in Network said: I am mad as hell and not going to take it any more….

        • stucrmnx120fshwf 3 years ago

          A 20 million dollar mining advertising campaign, meant we didn’t even get paid for our own minerals, thank goodness the technology, is almost impossible to compete with, in solar power and electric vehicles, over time.

      • Ian 3 years ago

        Agreed, the only decent thing Abbott ever did was ride a bike, and he even did that for the wrong reasons.

      • solarguy 3 years ago

        I’ll second that!

      • Joe 3 years ago

        Giles, sorry to give you some bad news. For the moment The Liberal Party preselectors in the Abbott’s seat of Warringah are rusted on Abbott Fanboys….the Abbott can do no wrong. The seat itself is Liberal Heartland territory and always votes Liberal. The only way to rid ourselves of the Abbott is to whisper into the ears of those preselectors. But then the problem of his replacement…another FF Dinosaur?

        • Mags 3 years ago

          Well nobody could be as destructive as Abbott has been for the last decade, so whisper away if that is what has to happen.

          • Joe 3 years ago

            …..psst, psst…

        • neroden 3 years ago

          How hard would it be to get solar panels on every Warringah roof? If that happens, either they’ll vote Labor or Abbott will change his tune.

          • Joe 3 years ago

            Perhaps Labor could offer to install rooftop solar and as a bonus an Elon / Tesla Powerwall 2 at the Abbott’s home. The Abbott could feel the love of RE and admit…’My FF support was all about politics, I always knew RE was the future”.

          • Carl Raymond S 3 years ago

            $6,000 for a big system with three year payback is small change for Warringah home owners. It’s like money in the bank at 33% interest, tax free. The only things holding them back might be time poverty, or tree shade, or they don’t like the aesthetics and will wait for tesla tiles.

          • stucrmnx120fshwf 3 years ago

            Recently just rooftop solar, made 49% of South Australia’s electricity, Turnbull has solar panels and batteries, in his own house, the trend is not going, the mad monk’s way.

  10. Tim Buckley 3 years ago

    Well done Giles – you are all too often a near lone voice of informed, well researched energy sector media journalism here in Australia.

    • Giles 3 years ago

      Thanks Tim. I’d actually point out that Ben Potter does a pretty good job at AFR, and the weekday chook (Tony Boyd) is pretty good too when he gets on the topic. But this one just blew me away. Resolved not to read the weekend papers on a Saturday anymore. Just upsets me.

      • Tim Buckley 3 years ago

        True, the AFR fossil fool editorial control seems to have been loosened this year in the face of wind, solar and battery prices dropping 20-30% pa (hard to ignore this massive, unstoppable deflationary pressure), allowing slightly more balanced reporting some of the time, but I still read it (as I have almost every day for the last 30 years) and am reminded that fossil fuel companies probably dominate their top 10 advertiser lists, or they are still trying to compete with the one-sided The Australian drivel, or both.

        • Michael James 3 years ago

          But I am not at all sure much of this is really simple stupidity or ignorance but rather crude partisan appeal to the right-wing base. With a big lashing of cynicism.
          On the occasions that Stutch appears on Sunday’s Insiders he invariably makes some outrageous partisan and crazy statement–which usually results in a bit of head-butting with Lenore Taylor, one of the few willing to call him out. He never cedes the point but usually does a bit more digging. However I don’t know if this is stupidity rather than overt partisanship. I don’t think it matters to these types whether all the experts or smart people know they are talking crap as they have a different strategy. It is taking perverse pride in being wrong but still being “king of the jungle” or whatever.

          • nakedChimp 3 years ago

            That’s just sick. 🙁

          • Barri Mundee 3 years ago

            Yes I think some on the conservative side use a strategy of repeating crap endlessly in the belief that it will be accepted.

          • neroden 3 years ago

            Those who do that (deliberately lying repeatedly to try to get people to believe it) are not “conservatives”. They’re right-wing tribalists. And they’re also evil monsters.

          • stucrmnx120fshwf 3 years ago

            If they can generate debt, at 4 times the speed, of say labor, without even a global financial crisis and get away with it, in the media, they can get away with anything.

          • stucrmnx120fshwf 3 years ago

            Well cancerous diseases are the no 1 killer, in the world today, but they’re saying subsidies to big carbon, (so they can pay no tax,) aren’t enough, we have to increase the subsidies. Because renewables are getting too cheap, for big carbon dioxide emissions based power, to compete, with increasingly big silicon.

        • stucrmnx120fshwf 3 years ago

          Things like the roaring twenties, happen, because an efficiency barrier gets broken, solar gets cheap enough, to make steel, as in Wales UK, Whyala Australia. Batteries get cheap enough, that the efficiency of electric engines shines, cheap to power, 1/10 th of the cost to maintain, solar panels pay themselves off, in a decade or less. Then they’re still putting out 75% of their initial output, 50 years later, that’s the beauty of solid state power, almost no maintenance.

      • GregS 3 years ago

        Well done Giles!
        To follow on though, how do we get retraction made?

  11. John Corney 3 years ago

    If you think that is rubbish have a look at what Peta Credlin wrote in the Brisbane Sunday Mail on the 01-10-2017. She doesn’t know anything about energy and somebody is filling her head with garbage and she is silly enough to believe it. I wonder if that person might wear budgie smugglers.

  12. bigbluerenewable 3 years ago

    Great article, the power’s that be don’t want independent generation and storage, they want people to be on the grid so they can charge ridiculous amounts to the end user, the problem they have is people are starting to realize they are being screwed and are going grid free. Politicians god love them allow Tera Watts of energy to be mined and sold to foreigners, whilst their own people have the highest energy bills in the world.

  13. Ron Horgan 3 years ago

    Snowys’ motivation is clear.With Snowy 2.0 the organization grows as we taxpayers fund the large pumped hydro. Empire building is sufficient explanation.

    • Chris Jones 3 years ago

      I believe expanding pumped hydro in the Snowy must still happen – it’s too valuable a source of storage not to. Industry will certainly appreciate the power. However to pit battery storage against pumped hydro is silly – build them both!

      • Ron Horgan 3 years ago

        Agree completely Chris. Some time ago on this topic another contributor pointed out that Snowy as it exists now has a large pumped storage potential which is not being used.

  14. Neville Bott 3 years ago

    Another point to add is that a lot of A/C use is when the sun is shinning and the power comes straight from solar panels. Batteries are only need for a proportion of A/C power.

  15. Andy Saunders 3 years ago

    A very minor point, but there probably is a new consumer unit of storage developing for comparison purposes – the “powerwall”. just like a “Sydney Harbour” seems to be the comparison unit for water volumes (as in “the cotton farms drew off about X Sydney Harbours worth of water annually”).

    So maybe a valid comparison that Snowy 2.0 is so many Powerwalls (in energy, not power)

  16. Cooma Doug 3 years ago

    The products made available by new technology will slam the door on fossils. Most people have yet to hear about them, dont know what it means and have no idea what they are saying when talking about stability and reliability.
    Think back to your first thoughts on the internet concept 20 years ago. You probably wont remember when you first went on line. This energy thing is at this place now.

    • Coley 3 years ago

      Where’s me AOL electricity supplier?-;)

  17. Malcolm Scott 3 years ago

    I heard Paul Broad on RN a few weeks ago. He said then that he was technology agnostic. I’m tired of hearing that propaganda. I checked out who it’s retailer is and determined not to have anything to do with it. Others could protest in the same way.

  18. Michael Van Zwam 3 years ago

    Money talks and bullshit walks. Everyone with a powerwall should post their power bills and show the savings. Most bills these days have a CO2 displacement graph showing not just the savings but their carbon footprint.

  19. John Burnett 3 years ago

    Cure for electricity problems? Get rid of the COALies.

  20. Rebecca 3 years ago

    Giles I gave up reading so called newspapers years ago it’s like believing in the tooth fairy. We in Australia surely don’t deserve the stupidity, that comes from our Politicians. I know a lot of people are talking about moving overseas, political parties have never been so frustrating.

    • nakedChimp 3 years ago

      All western countries have the same problem.. some just aren’t so far along the curve yet or go slower.
      The US is ahead of us on this.
      The UK is on level I’d say.

  21. Jeremy C 3 years ago


    Isn’t the nonsense against renewables just a proxy by the denier/fanatics in their war against AGW? They are just trying to bring their very effective lying and disinformation skills to bear and they wete very successful at this for nearly 20 years.

    Shouldn’t we just be calling them out rather than the framing of it as coal vs renewables, which it is only partially. I’m saying this because if how successful they were on AGW and I don’t want yhem to distract people for the next twenty years.

  22. Sean Sweetser 3 years ago

    He looked up Samsung or Mitsubishi Inverter air con and saw the 8kW rating. He assumed that three of them running would use 24kWh and 72kWh over three hours.

    Because of his lack of actual knowledge or proof reading by even a rudimentary expert it was not picked up that a standard 8kW inverter air con pulls about 8amps of electricity under load. 240×8=1.92kW and it would need to run constantly for the hour to pull 1.92kWh.

    Can someone please forward this information to peak stupid.

    Peak stupid made me laugh. It should be an annual award.

    • neroden 3 years ago

      Yep, he never looked up the Coefficient of Power (4)

  23. Frank Speaking 3 years ago

    We need a new political party, built from the ground up, drawing from expertise in economics, bureaucracy, government, finance, business that can field in both houses.
    That is crowd funded with no business donations

    • Michael Murray 3 years ago

      If you look at the reaction of people donating to get up Bernardi’s nose you might be on to something.

    • nakedChimp 3 years ago

      Try the Greens.

      And please leave experts in ‘economics’ out.. they have no STEM degree and no clue about control engineering.

    • Barri Mundee 3 years ago

      Check out the New Democracy

  24. Alex Baker 3 years ago

    Could it be that the world bank know where the madness is coming from? Little did I know this 4 letter acronym stands for Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation, so regardless of whatever spin they try to put on it, the people ultimately accountable can only be the folks in head office, in Melbourne.

    Or am I just some crazed conspiracy theorist?

  25. ed 3 years ago

    …simply… fools w/ brain damage….

  26. Deepak Khemchandani 3 years ago

    every political institution is corrupt now, they will do anything to be in power and money, solar panels can pay themselves off in around 4 years on current prices and tesla power wall in 6 years ,, solar panels average life if around 20 to 25 years, so u can have free electricity for yourself, so every utility company and government are trying to make the idea of solar as sour as possible so that , humans cant be independent on there own, thats the main reason no gov wants to promote solar or renewable, i would recommend each and every individual if they can should go off grid. be atleast energy independent now as it can be done, good luck to all in Australia.

  27. Huntone 3 years ago

    Sorry, but this article is very poorly written. Proof read your work, or get an editor, if you want anyone to take you seriously. When you’re only a couple of paragraphs in and already spotting numerous obvious errors; words missing, incorrect grammar, etc, you are undermining any credibility you might have had.

    I think I agree with your stance on the issue, but I couldn’t stand to read any further.

    • Jake Frederics2 3 years ago

      Be careful. If you don’t agree with everything on the site you will get banned.

  28. TweedCAN 3 years ago

    There is too much emphasis on Lithium. Supply will not be able to keep up with the exponential proliferation of demand especially as the electric vehicle market takes off let alone major energy storage. Mineral reserves of lithium are limited and there are intractable bottlenecks in extraction from the South American salt lakes. Additional battery technologies will be needed if surging lithium prices are not to feed the coal disinformation rear guard and crimp the renewable energy transition.

    • riley222 3 years ago

      TweedCAN, hydrogen produced by solar thermal could replace a lot of the demand for lithium. It could power our planet for a billion years without ill effects on the planet. It’s an outlier technology at the moment, but shortages or increased prices for raw materials could easily see it become a mainstream alternative to batteries, especially in the area of transport.

      • TweedCAN 3 years ago

        Riley, I am unconvinced by hydrogen for transport as the tanks have to be too heavy to withstand the very high pressures for liquefaction and the higher combustion temps mean engine wear. Graphene/Zinc batteries look much more promising with 7.5 the energy density of lithium by weight and volume. Unfortunately the company which bought the technology in Australia specialises in Fracking chemicals. Maybe one of the overseas labs will actually take it to market. Hydrogen, Bromine batteries and manganese batteries may take some of the larger standing storage market but are useless for home storage or transport. We will need an alternative to lithium within 5 yrs if momentum is not to stall.

        • Chris Drongers 3 years ago

          “Unfortunately the company which bought the technology in Australia specialises in Fracking chemicals. Maybe one of the overseas labs will actually take it to market.”

          Shades of the UNSW development of the vanadium flow battery – technology improved by Maria Skyllas-Kazacos at UNSW, couldn’t be funded, sold to an Australian speccy gold miner, sold to a Vancouver penny stock, sold to theChinese in USA and now available for installation in Australia (on of these improved batteries is running a piggery in Donnybrook, WA)

          • TweedCAN 3 years ago

            The other usual story is a good idea issued at $1 per share and after several capital raisings the manufacture goes overseas anyway and the share is down to $0.10 but the directors don’t care because they have bulk shares at $0.05..

        • stucrmnx120fshwf 3 years ago

          Pressure isn’t a problem for liquid hydrogen, if you keep it cool enough, rockets have skins that are very thin, I prefer electric vehicles as a solution for normal sized vehicles. But ships, aircraft and bulk energy storage, would benefit from economy of scale, liquid hydrogen production.

          • TweedCAN 3 years ago

            Rockets typically store liquid hydrogen for less than an hour and boil over is accommodated by a very large safe area. A chemical plant in the USA recently exploded when power failed for cooling. We have yet to have a big LNG explosion but give it time. I think liquid hydrogen should be reserved for circumstances a long way from airports, population centres and general ports.

          • stucrmnx120fshwf 3 years ago

            Well some reduction in explosion risk, can be had, by the use of slush hydrogen, long jetties , kilometers long, remote hub airports, serviced by high speed railways. In terms of bulk liquid hydrogen storage, hydrogen can be piped to remote locations, as long, as they have access to power lines. Just as most bulk LNG tankers, don’t usually dock, outside of long jetties, or remote gas facilities, but you do see LNG powered ships, aviation fuel, isn’t the safest thing in the universe. Remember 9/11, two 767’s took down 2 huge buildings, hydrogen has the advantage, that it doesn’t pool at the leak site, it floats up, to the upper atmosphere. Clearing the area, cryogenic cooled fuels, exclude oxygen, from the inside of their containers, the space shuttle explosion. Involved a solid rocket cutting flame and the presence of high concentration oxygen; kerosene, liquid oxygen rockets explode with similar force to LH2 rockets. Room temperature liquid fuel facilities, are also very very dangerous, if they are large enough. A refinery fire, is a nightmare scenario.

    • neroden 3 years ago

      Mineral reserves of lithium are effectively unlimited. But there is an extraction bottleneck due to failure to invest in more extraction operations. So additional lithium “mines” need to be funded.

  29. Gary 3 years ago

    I’m all for renewable, have a Tesla myself for couple of years now. But have they had any breakthrough on how to rid abandoned old batteries yet? That’s probably one of the remaining argument those who are against it make

    • Ken Fabian 3 years ago

      I believe that taking the batteries back for recycling is Tesla policy.

      • Gary 3 years ago

        Very nice thanks for the reply

        • neroden 3 years ago

          They’re described as “a high purity source of cobalt, nickel, etc.”

    • Kevfromspace 3 years ago

      There will be a battery recycling facility at the Tesla battery Gigafactory in Nevada once fully operational (2020)

  30. Ken Fabian 3 years ago

    Giles, I wouldn’t be so sure we have hit peak stupid yet; perhaps wait until Tony Abbott gets back from his sacrificing goats – or Reason – to the Gods of coal at UK’s GWPF before making the call.

  31. Jerry Boics 3 years ago

    Not once do you mention the price of what it cost for just one house to get a power wall. Times that ridiculous figure by your 7 million units….

  32. Gumped 3 years ago

    I don’t know where to start my comments on your article, but you are an imbecile, lacking real content understanding of the things you are attempting to discredit or unravel. It’s actually breathtaking and bewildering. Wow! I just can’t do it – I’ll have to try again later once I gather my thoughts on just how many things you are ignorant in!

  33. Miles Harding 3 years ago

    Just when we thought that ‘Peak Stupid’ has been reached, the LNP Coal trolls are able to dig deeper to reach a new high.

    Tony (the great disruptor) Abbott has managed this in his speech to the coal-tropic Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), London last night (9 October)

    While we’ve heard this crap before, it was still stunning that any supposedly responsible leader could still see this a conscionable viewpoint.

  34. Les Johnston 3 years ago

    I never cease to be amazed at the ignorance of certain persons and unwillingness to even open their minds to information. I must admit, I do cull what I read or listen to. So painful to hear ignorance compounded with arrogance.

  35. Steve Garside 3 years ago

    I doubt the idea was to install 5 Powerwalls in one house. That would cost $65,000.
    13.8kWh/3.5hrs = 2.76kW.
    A plausible figure for average household aircondtioning consumption.

  36. Paul Govan 3 years ago

    The total taboo and deafening media silence re breakthrough energy-dense ultracapacitors continues: all we hear is “battery this” & “big battery that”.
    Obviously the world’s major battery manufacturers don’t wanna hear about anything as disruptive as instant-charge, energy-dense ultracaps – especially given that they can be recharged around a million times.
    But the media’s job is to break silences – not to quietly comply with the wishes and preferences of powerful corporations.
    So let’s please stop this bizarre universal silence: powerpacks that combine energy-dense ultracaps AND batteries is what EVs need in order to genuinely challenge and usurp the Internal Combustion Engine. A zillion vested interests obviously don’t wanna see that happen – whose side is the media on ?
    Paul GOVAN

  37. Ian 3 years ago

    Never mind, our vested interests like the coal lobby and Snowy Hydro can plan and operate within their understanding of electricity supply technology, perhaps batteries are overpriced and not much good as they suggest, but check this out from Sophie’s article on China:

    “In the longer term, the report adds, battery production rates could increase by as much as 40 per cent this year and total around 270GWh by 2020.”

    There may soon be accelerated downward pressure on battery prices.

  38. Jon Sibley 3 years ago

    Big fan if renew, but your Tesla calcs are just wrong. Eg average daily consumption in the ACT is 20kWh per day. Times 5 is 100. So 70kWh is less than a day and during a peak demand period, much less. I’ve got solar and LG chem 9.4 battery and I get a real time data feed. It’s generally full by 11am and empty by midnight. Thats in a 7 star house with minimal load. Batteries are awesome but let’s be realistic.

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