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Turnbull blows trumpet for right wing idiocy on energy

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Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has chosen to close the year in much the same way as he started it on climate and energy policy: awaiting yet another review, and parroting the ever more absurd claims of the fossil fuel lobby and the right wing of his Coalition government on energy.

After more than two years at the helm, Turnbull has done nothing to change the policies laid out by his predecessor Tony Abbott, and has only added to uncertainty by canning the major recommendation of the Finkel Review and trying to force the likes of AGL to invest yet more money in their ageing coal fired generators.

In an appearance on ABC TV’s Q&A program on Monday night, on the same day as a series of end-0f-year interviews with mainstream media, Turnbull appeared triumphant, cock-sure and combative, and unwavering from the hard right line on climate and energy.

Asked about his warnings – made in 2010 – that failing to address climate change would endanger future generations, Turnbull predicted a long future for fossil fuels, and repeated the usual fear-mongering about wind and solar.

“We have to ensure that we have affordable and reliable energy. We have to make sure that we keep the lights on, and can afford to keep the lights on,” he said.

“Energy policy has to be driven by engineering and economics, not by ideology, and as we’ve seen, for example, in South Australia, sheer idiocy.

“You know, where you had an enormous investment in wind power – nothing wrong with that, except they didn’t have anything to keep the lights on when the windmills stopped turning. A catastrophe. So you’ve got to plan it right. There will be a role for fossil fuels for a long time.”

But whether Turnbull likes it or not, the idiocy does not lie with Labor in South Australia; it lies with the mind numbing ignorance and obstinacy of the right wing in Australia’s politics and media, forever holding on to their attachment to coal.

The blackout in South Australia proved one thing, that the country’s ageing and dumb grid was no longer fit for purpose, and the solution would not come from last century technologies like coal and gas, but a new system built around wind, solar, smart thinking and new management practices.

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The Coalition’s response to wind and solar, and new technologies such as battery storage and smart actions like demand response, betray their own ideology and their lack of respect to both engineering and economics.

Turnbull will be buoyed by the fact that the mainstream media has declared the energy policy issue to be “sorted” – the AFR on Tuesday said the energy policy conundrum was “fixed”, and even the Guardian has suggested any opposition to the proposed National Energy Guarantee is just “playing politics”.

But energy and climate policy is anything but fixed.

Turnbull claims, and did so again on Q&A, that the NEG – currently little more than a thought bubble – has widespread support, but that is only among the incumbents and big business players that stand to profit from it, and their lobbyists and boosters.

The support of others is highly conditional, and is on the basis that the NEG must not look like what the modelling suggests it might look like – useless on emissions, inviting no new investment, doing little on prices, and simply reinforcing the market power of the incumbents.

The lack of scrutiny from mainstream media, and its willingness to parrot Coalition and fossil fuel industry talking points about “clean coal” and “base-load”, will make Turnbull’s task easier and take much of the political risk out of his informal treaty with the technology troglodytes on his right.

But his pursuit of these lines is all the more disappointing because he has plenty of evidence say otherwise:

+ The government’s own modelling suggested that more renewables, not less, would lead to the greatest price reductions;

+ The Finkel report on storage reinforced what the CSIRO and the networks had already made clear, that the level of storage required is remarkably small and almost non-existent for the levels contemplated by this government;

+ And numerous reports put emissions at their ever highest level, point out the uselessness of the current Direct Action policy and the growing risks from global warming.

That’s why the AGL decision on Liddell is significant. A combination of renewables, storage, and some gas peaking plant would slash emissions and offer technology 20 per cent cheaper than the Coalition’s preferred option of spend money keeping ageing and unreliable coal generators on line.

But as the Institute of Sustainable Futures explains, emissions could be cut even further, and costs halved (rather than cut by 20 per cent), if an even smarter approach was adopted – a mixture of renewables and energy efficiency and demand management.

However, as ISF’s Chris Dunstan points out, this does require the government to actually do something, and reframe policy so that utilities have a motive to change their approach and so consumers can benefit.

The sole incentive for the utilities under current market settings is to invest in more generation and continue to extract the monopoly rents from their market dominance that are screwing consumers. This report from the regulator last week underlines exactly how they are doing that.

This makes Turnbull’s latest utterings completely indefensible.

It is no longer good enough to lock himself into the Abbott era policies designed and framed by climate deniers and technology skeptics who sought to do the minimum possible.

(It may be partially explained by the fact that one of his principal climate and energy policy advisors, Sid Marris, used to work for the Minerals Council of Australia. And Patrick Gibbons, the former advisor to environment minister Greg Hunt, is now head of climate and energy at the MCA).

If he wants it, Turnbull has all the evidence he needs to argue that the energy trilemma – emissions, reliability and affordability – is best addressed by wholesale market and policy reform and ambitious renewable and climate targets.

It would lead to a smarter, cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable grid. And in quick time. What’s not to like about that?

The issue over marriage equality showed how reasoned argument, and just a little political and a lot of community leadership, can overcome the fear and loathing of the small but powerful conservative base.

But Turnbull has shown that he has not the courage, nor the political need, to push these through.

Instead, he is likely to push ahead with Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro scheme. Its feasibility study, due to be released soon, will make fascinating reading.

But if climate policies stay as they are, then Snowy 2.0 will not be, as Turnbull claimed on Q&A, “the largest single renewable project in our history since the Snowy Mountains Scheme was built”.

In fact, it won’t be renewable at all, it will simply be using excess coal power at night to push water up hill and then wait for high prices before allowing it to cascade back down again.

And if Snowy 2.0 is built in these circumstances, it will lock in the power of the incumbents, the arrival of zero marginal cost generation from wind and solar will be kept to a minimum, and it won’t just be customers getting screwed, it will be the planet as well.

But that’s the Turnbull we’ve come to know.

 

 

   

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  • MaxG

    Aussies have this saying: useless like tits on a (turn)bull…
    Of course, the leader of the idiots spruik idiotic ideas… it is normal.. and of course idiotic. 🙂

    • Joe

      Max…who are the dolts that vote for these idiots.

      • MaxG

        Obviously more than 50% of the population 🙂

        • Hettie

          Actually, Max, no. Coalition primary vote is only about 35%.

          • Michael Murray

            Sure but more people prefer LNP to ALP on preferences. Sadly.
            Preferences are what count in Australian elections.

          • Hettie

            Given the latest Essential Poll showing
            ALP 55%, Coalition 45%, I have high hopes of a change of Government.
            Given the mayhem that failure to give full disclosure and solid evidence about their citizenship is inflicting on Coalition MPs, I have high hopes that a general election will become necessary before Easter.

          • MaxG

            This, the small margin is the problem… and I do not think it is much of a difference with regard to my argument that 50% vote for them. Is 45% any better? Still far too many not really understanding what they are voting for.

          • rob

            Max even with an error rate of 2% it would be a landslide victory for Labor……..And these 55-45 polling has been consistent for the last 2 years. If Labor actually got 55% you could count the LNP member elected on your hands and a few toes!

          • MaxG

            No worries, all understood… my reply was in response to the flack I got for saying that more then 50% must have voted for the clowns (and they did; it does not matter which preference got them eventually in). I am not hung up on a specific voting system, as each variation has (as so many things in life) advantages and disadvantages.

          • MaxG

            Which has got nothing to do with democracy… as preferential voting allows votes to be counted multiple times; which is fundamentally flawed.

          • Michael Murray

            All voting systems have flaws. With a perfectly fair voting system you could hold a majority in parliament with a touch over 25% of the national vote. You could hold all the seats in parliament with a touch over 50% of the national vote.

          • Catprog

            Why is counting votes multiple times flawed?

            If their are more then 2 candidates and one is eliminated they In essence count all the votes excluding that one.

          • MaxG

            I am not splitting hairs…
            They must have ‘acquired’ majority somehow…
            Anyway, preferential voting provides a result like this.

          • wideEyedPupil

            First past the post is much less democratic and serves the duopoly of politics far more.

          • MaxG

            Democracy implies one wo(man) one vote. I wonder why the rest of the world has not adopted preferential voting.

          • Jo

            A proportional voting system is more democratic.
            Take the QLD elections:
            The One Nation (not that I like them) had 13.7% of the votes and got one MP. The Katter Party (not that I like them either) had 2.3% of the votes but got 3 MPs. Is that democratic???

          • Joe

            The great voting system of Australia where it is not the actual number of votes that counts. It is the number of seats in Parliament actually won. So the overall popular vote may not translate into a majority of seats in Parliament.

          • Mike Shackleton

            That’s why we have a mix of proportional and simple majority voting. The House of Reps – simple majority for a local member. The Senate is proportional based on votes collected across the state.

          • wideEyedPupil

            Because the duopoly oppose it drastically. And they would have to convince both sets of rusted on voters and the swing voters it was in the nations interest to give the duopoly less power… needs a perfect storm of political circumstances to have that happen in a “mature democracy”. History will tell you why certain countries have preferential and others have first past the post. The incumbent bully nations tend to have more centralised power and less democracy, first past the post in USA, UK, duopoly inside the single party of China, not sure about USSR, I suspect no preferential voting there either.

      • Michael Murray

        Pop over to the Adelaide Advertiser website and read the comments attached to any article about electricity generation. You find a lot of dolts.

        • Joe

          …that be one of The Rupe’s newsrags…we get that here in Sydney with The Daily Horror / Telegraph.

      • rob

        Not Me!

  • Mark Fowler

    I came across this on the NSW NPWS website which suggests that Snowy 2.0 is moving rapidly ahead.

    “Applies from Fri 22 Sep 2017, 4.01pm. Last reviewed: Tue 24 Oct 2017, 9.38am.

    Other planned events: Increased activity associated with Snowy 2.0 feasibility study

    If you’re planning a trip to northern Kosciuszko National Park, be aware that there will be works associated with the Snowy 2.0 feasibility study drilling program in some areas.
    Public access will not be affected other than at specific drilling and work sites. However, please note that you might encounter extra vehicle and truck movements from time to time. For further information about access to Kosciuszko National Park please contact the NPWS Tumut office on (02) 6947 7000.”

    • Joe

      Yes, those drilling core were laid out for Channel 2 media some weeks ago. Not sure how the feasibility study will be handed in by years end when the drillers are still going hard at it and before any real study of the all the cores has been done. Me thinks that ‘Black Leathers’ Turnbull has jumped the gun a tad with all his banging on about how good Snowy 2.0 is going to be. First lets get that feasibility done then the business case before Two Tongues Turnbull has gets his wet dream of ‘The World’s Biggest Coal Powered Battery’.

      • wideEyedPupil

        See my comment above, he was hurting so much on the inside.

  • Chris Fraser

    In 2018 let’s keep on insisting to see the NEG policy detail … they must know it’s going to give results such as you’ve outlined, or it would be out there already.

  • howardpatr

    You well and truly have the hypocrite Turnbull summed up Giles. He stands for little else but his own ego when it comes to the issues concerning anthropogenic climate change.

  • Carl Raymond S

    I don’t follow the logic for being anti Snowy 2.0. If it’s cheaper than batteries, then it’s going to give this country an economic advantage. Yes, we need batteries too for the ‘faster than gas’ frequency control, but it means we don’t need a huge number of projects of the size of SA’s world’s-biggest Tesla battery – just a dozen or so.

    My concern is how many years will Snowy 2.0 take to build? We need it super fast tracked – running this decade. If it proceeds like Sydney’s second airport, or the Sydney to Melbourne fast train, or fibre to the home, then it’s nothing more than a stalling tactic. I have no idea what this govt can do to instil some trust – they have nothing in the bank in that department.

    • Keith Altmann

      Consideration should be given to whether a decentralised network of smaller pumped hydro storages might be cheaper and quicker to put in place with fewer network costs, as many sites have been identified.

      • Carl Raymond S

        Perhaps Snowy for NSW, Vic and SA, with small and numerous the better answer for Qld. A race to zero emissions is the go. Far more important than that blues/maroons game.

        • Peter F

          Snowy II is pretty well useless for SA without another $2b in transmission investment, which could never be justified on the low utilisation it would get. SA is already a net power exporter and could firm up its own generation for about $500-800m
          Snowy II is also fairly inefficient because of the long tunnel and even for Victoria and NSW requires another $2-3b in transmission investment.
          My prediction is that Victoria will build smaller, cheaper storage near transmission lines together with wind projects in East Gippsland, vastly expanded community solar and storage and ongoing energy efficiency so that by the time the Commonwealth funded Snowy II is online Victoria won’t need it or pay for it

          • wideEyedPupil

            Malcolm wanted something to announce so as to ease his butthurt that Weatherill was getting all the Elon Musk/Tesla attention.

          • Coley

            Aye, from an ‘outsiders viewpoint’ (UK) that sums up Turnbulls actions to a ‘T’
            Bit like TTTs desperate attention seeking over in the US.

          • Cooma Doug

            A few points. Snowy 2 will cost less than half of the same hydro gen pump plants that are smaller and numerous in SA and Vic. The reason being the dams are already in place. The evironmental management evelope already in place and currently applied. Most of the interconnection already in place. The location of the synchronous plant ideal for FCAS.

            Useless for SA….not so. Think a little longer about that matter. SA has large energy production that can be stored in Snowy 2 .
            When the market load shifting options are optimised, Snowy 2 will increase the value of all solar and wind generators in SA and make another interconnection to vic viable.

            As a large load day emerges and moves toward a 1840pm peak in a summer heat wave
            ( they used to be 1430 pre solar) much will be done in load shifting and storage.
            Often it is a scorcher in NSW and cool in SA. In any case moving through the day involves use of storage. This will be more detailed and complex in application than you might expect. They will approach the peak moment and the determined storage points will move from charge to full discharge at specific moments in the profile cycle.

            There will be hundreds of issues determining the process and sequence of events.
            There are many ways that various storage plants will be utilised under market signals
            that will optimise system security and asset value given the changing circumstances.

          • Peter F

            Cooma
            Perhaps I over-simplified and I agree with almost everything you are saying, but as AEMO is already discovering well controlled batteries are far more useful than hydro for FCAS (as a opposed to secondary reserve) and while we all like to think electricity travels across the wires almost instantly there are issues of “stiffness”, redundancy and “strength” as well as transmission losses which favor storage near the load.

            I agree completely that the way the system operates will be a second by second basis not 5 minute by 5 minute so some storage will be discharging at one site while others are charging a few hundred km away.

          • Mike Westerman

            Doug – the current budget I think I saw recently for Snowy 2 was $4B or was it $5B including transmission? I can assure you that none of the several PHES projects in SA are even a quarter of that number, so I assume you refer to $/MWh stored. Which of course is where the mendaciousness of our Feds starts. I could just as easily say my little home town has the longest runway in the world simply because theoretically the 20km long straight bit of road could take a Jumbo if pressed. The spotlight with Snowy should be how often is it going to sell how much storage and at what price? If it can sell 336,000MWh only once every 15y then I can scarcely base the $/MWh on capex/336000. The reality is that most of the PHES I am studying will run for 4-6h per day to deliver into markets priced at $120-150/MWh 300days per year, so that they cost $100k/MWh stored is highly relevant, whereas Snowy 2 at $12k/MWh is not. And projects that are 3-4y away are even more valuable than those 8y away.

          • Cooma Doug

            Mike
            I dont know who is giving you the numbers. Please sack them.
            At the moment Snowy already has more than 5000 GWhr stored.
            The snowy 2 project storage space is additional to that number and is already there now.
            What needs to be done is the installation of the gen pumps. The transmission infrastructure is already there in the space allocation and all environmental issues resolved. The hard yards already done. All the Snowy 2 gen could be done in 6 days and or pumped.

            Any pump/gen storage system built anywhere at smaller scale in various locations would require enormous infrastructure spending. Costs already done in Snowy 2. These smaller hydro projects are enormous tasks in tearms of feasability and environmental synergy. The costs are huge before you can even see it in place.

            If you do the numbers on a system 5% the size of Snowy 2, initially the infrastructure costs and environmental issues, the market location and product potential, the task is enormous. You will also not find a head anywhere near the head in place at Snowy 2.
            If you do have such a head and can handle the resulting cost blow out you would need a dam the same size as Tumut Pond. Its not going to happen. You have to go smaller. For every 1% smaller when all the costs are tallied the costs per unit, what ever unit you choose, goes up big time.

            Snowy 2 could generate and or store 300 Gwh in 6 days.
            It doesnt need a drop of rain to do so. The water is there now. The water never leaves.
            If it stops raining today and the drought continues this water would be the last to leave and that would be in a drought lasting years with record low snow and rain.
            If it all goes the other way and just keeps raining the very worst case is a loss of some of the storage space but could still gen and store near to max in the worst case.

            Why will Snowy 2 happen?
            The costly, time consuming tasks are already largely done. The energy storage space is huge and in location.

            It is much more expensive to build smaller pumped hydro systems. That is not to say it wont happen in SA. It probably will. Snowy 2 can also play a major role in SA despite the interconnection weakness from Vic to SA. This is because storage is all about load shifting. SA already has the potential to store huge energy daily. Where to store is their problem. Snowy 2 will be a major part of SA energy profile storing wind and exess solar. Every night and day.

            Another outstanding issue that makes a huge difference is the technology advances in DC transmission. Check it out. If the plans in China and Europe in this area go as expected, the whole game changes. Snowy 2 and storage areas of that scale will increase in value while small scale diespersed energy storage will have a powerful new competitor.

          • Michael Murray

            Interesting looking at SA now at 9.45pm on 12/12. Hot night. 1721 Mw gas running, 54 Mw of wind and 220Mw coming in from Victoria. So 100 % rewewable means finding another 2 Gw from somewhere.

          • Peter F

            I did say net zero not absolutely zero. For about 80-90% of the time now, SA is exporting. In the next two to three years it will add about 500 MW of tracking solar, 150 MW of solar thermal, as well as new wind and new rooftop solar and probably 300-400 MW of new storage. In effect this will all displace either OC gas or add to net exports. Wind curtailment will almost certainly disappear further adding to the renewable share even with no new plant.
            So there will be times when SA is importing 200-500MW but they will be vastly outweighed by the number of times and the duration where it is exporting.

            It is also interesting to note that 10 days ago when temperatures reached 39C peak demand was only 2450 MW

          • Michael Murray

            but they will be vastly outweighed by the number of times and the duration where it is exporting.

            Like right now it’s exporting about 550 MW.

      • wideEyedPupil

        And if it[‘s going to be for providing ‘kinetic inertia’ for grid stability (which comes for free with coal and gas) it’s better if it’s closer to load centres. Blakers covers why Tumut 3 is bad engineering if costs and environment are to be considered relevant in this video:

    • Hettie

      Didn’t you know, Carl?
      Stalling and then Stuffing things up are the two things Waffles does best.
      And if Snowy 2 uses coal to pump the water up hill it’s not renewable at all.

      • Carl Raymond S

        But it pits coal against wind and solar, kWh for kWh (generated any hour of the day, any day of the week). With the storage aspect taken care of 2 cent/kWh wind/solar will destroy coal. You can’t beat free fuel.

    • Patrick Comerford

      Unfortunately Turnbulls track record in nation defining projects is not good. Leadership requires credibility, credibility requires a proven track record. If you think that Snowy 2.0 will achieve its objective then you need look no further than Turnbulls NBN. He owns that project too but is furiously distancing himself from the disaster (it’s all Labors fault) that is unfolding before our eyes. Too late the damage has been done and I have every confidence that his political decision to go with Snowy 2.0 if in fact it ever goes ahead has an excellent chance of becoming another NBN calamity.

    • Alan S

      The day that Turnbull released his thought bubble Snowy 2.0, the Libs were quoting generated power, energy storage, numbers to be employed – the usual nonsense. Anyone with half a brain understands that you can’t possibly know such data until there’s been a feasibility study and a tentative design made. People don’t like being treated as gullible so I suggest that’s a strong reason, rightly or wrongly, for the anti-Snowy sentiment.

    • Your mistake is continuing to assume good faith.

      • Carl Raymond S

        The message i try to send is that if they accelerate the shift to 100% RE, people will respect and vote for them.

  • Peter F

    As David Leitch says from the beginning of 2017 to the end of 2019 something like 5GW of utility wind and solar probably 300 MW/400 MWh of on grid storage will be in place in addition to another 3-4GW of behind the meter generation and 500 MW/1200 MWh of behind the meter storage. That will generate as much energy as 3.5GW of coal plants neatly compensating for Liddell and Hazelwood by end of 2019, before considering additions from Queensland and Victorian renewable policies.

    Add those in and another three years of rooftop and behind the meter batteries and by 2022 without any new investment from AGL, yet another coal plant will be uneconomical.

    On a more local scale if DP energy, Solar Reserve, Liberty and AGL plans are completed with ongoing rooftop solar and battery installations by consumers SA will be running at about 75-80% renewable by 2022 and if the Lyon and pumped hydro plants go ahead it could be net zero, exporting more power than its entire annual gas generation + imports

    • rob

      Add my new 20Kw to that fIgure will you please….LOL

  • Ian Franklin

    “Energy policy has to be driven by engineering and economics, not by ideology, and as we’ve seen, for example, in South Australia, sheer idiocy.”
    Yes, I heard truffles say that, and I almost threw something at the television. The hypocrisy in declaring SA energy policy “ideology” is breathtaking, given that the obverse is the case. A recent poll in the local Sunday Murdoch rag appeared to show that South Australians are overwhelmingly in favour of wind and solar, yet that citizens thought that the Liberal party would better manage energy supply. This despite the fact that the liberals, who privatised ETSA, have fought Labor tooth and nail at every step. The right wing press, the LNP and the IPA have lied and lied about SA to protect their own base interests, and too many people buy it.

    • George Marsh

      It would be interesting to step back to say 2005 in SA before the advent of renewables in their energy mix and ask the Turnbulls of this world how they’d explain the outages/failures of the coal and gas dominated system of the day … but then rational discussion ain’t part of this current narrative. (In fact I understand that SA wanted renewables in order to overcome the reliability/failure issues around the old 20th century technology).

      • wideEyedPupil

        And drive their wholesale energy price down to be comparable with the eastern states. It was double on average, now it’s less, on average as leading economist Prof Ross Garnaut pointed out recently.

        • rob

          But but but…….despite Installing a 10Kw solar system 2 years ago…and it pumps out 8300w on a good day which pleases me greatly……my bill (quarterly) here in S.A. remains over $3k for my home business……the same amount it was 2 years ago….BLOODY 20% price rises……So what to do…….going 3 phase and installing another 20Kw of TINDO panels!

          • Rod

            Sorry if you have mentioned before, but that seems a lot of energy use. Bitcoin mining maybe?

          • rob

            LOL……na I’m a GREENY Rod!……..want nothing to do with Bitcoin or indeed any other sort of mining! Humourous as your statement was! It is simply a Cleaning company!

          • Rod

            Yes, the next frontier. SME’s providing as much of their own power as they can by fitting as much on their roofs as they can. The energy death spiral accelerates.

          • rob

            True that! The Gentailers have only themselves to blame……Gouging as they do. My home is almost full so I’m having to build a massive carport over my 4 car garage/rumpus /office and shed 4 metres high and 3/4 down my driveway to accommodate the new 72 TINDO Solar panels. All up cost is approx 90k (including 2 batteries)……..Payback 4.5 years (without including future price rises)

          • Rod

            I am impressed and a bit envious. I’m on SA premium FiT until 2028 so can’t upgrade but as I am making money from my piddling 2.6kW system I’m OK with that.

          • rob

            As Pooline would ask…..Please explain….what is sa premium FiT and how can you possibly be locked in till 2028?

          • Rod

            The State Government feed in tariff of 44c/kWh for early adopters. AGL (in my case) FiT is additional.
            If I add to the system or move house, I lose the premium tariff. As I make $1,000+ in cash every Year, it makes sense to leave as is.
            The sunset date is 2028.

          • rob

            Tis all good for you you lucky bugger…..I get a lousy $0.16 but on my last bill that totalled to a massive $1.95….ie I use all my solar power and much more…..As to Solarquotes…I used Finn the guy who runs it for my first 10 Kw system …….and I know he has the same panel I am going to use TINDO on his own home…..so I guess I’m on the right track…Plus they are built 10km away from my home right here in sweet S.A. In the meantime save your $1000 and you will be able to install a 10Kw package for free

          • nakedChimp

            Hm, a standalone system (that is not connected to the grid) with battery should not be affecting your grid connected FiT system?!

          • Rod

            You would hope not but these utilities have funny rules, like the 400 kWh minimum grid use per Year. (Which is another financial disincentive for me to consider) In reality, battery costs will have to drop before it makes $ense. But the “up your’s” factor is still compelling.

          • Rod

            A timely article popped up today re PFiTs
            https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/scrap-your-1-5kw/

  • Radbug

    I do hope that interested parties are putting the final touches to their FOI requests for a copy of the Snowy 2.0 feasibility study.

    • wideEyedPupil

      So true!

  • John Saint-Smith

    Turnbull’s idiotic failure to back cheap, clean reliable electricity grid development makes it easier to understand how he managed to get the NBN so catastrophically wrong.

    He’s morphed into Trump mini-me.

    • wideEyedPupil

      He got the NBN wrong because Murdoch cut a deal with Abbott to throw a few cogs into the NBN works. Worst deal ever in Oz telecommunications with Telstra being one, “multimode” being another.

      • rob

        throw

        • wideEyedPupil

          Thx, but I edited that 5 mins before you said so, 10 seconds after I posted it, probably screen didn’t update.

          • rob

            sorry Ex Teacher here…..LOL

  • Ken Dyer

    Nothing will change while the COALition is in power. Thankfully, those who understand what is going on, know that renewable energy progress is inexorable, and relentless.

    Turnbull is pissing into the wind. If you want to know which wind, get the latest wind report here:

    http://www.windalliance.org.au/wind_energy_turns_30?utm_campaign=30th_event&utm_medium=email&utm_source=vicwind

  • Matthew Rowland

    Dubai are miles ahead of Australia on this among many other things. They even have a Minister for Climate Change. https://www.moccae.gov.ae/en/home.aspx

    • Michael Murray

      Probably not on marriage equality though.

      • Matthew Rowland

        Give it time, they are pretty progressive over there. It wouldn’t surprise me if in our lifetime it gets done over there, or something similar.

  • lin

    “except they didn’t have anything to keep the lights on when the windmills stopped turning”
    But the lights didn’t go out because the windmills stopped turning. Man’s a conflicted idiot. We really need a better class of politician in the country….

    • Carl Raymond S

      Just one, with a science degree (other than political science) would be a good start.

      • Hettie

        Bring back Barry Jones!

        • Joe

          Young Hettie, Barry was very good value, I miss him

      • Alan S

        Trouble with scientists is that they self-doubt and consider alternatives. That’s no good in politics where you choose the easy option that gullible people will accept.
        Which scientist of any value would subject themselves to the indignity of parliament where you’re arguing with arts-degree-qualified ex-staffers who wouldn’t know an ampere from their proverbial.

  • Alan S

    As soon as I hear ‘windmills’ I know I’m dealing with an idiot.

    • Yes. Trumballs, like Abbott and drumpf, are the idiot’s idiot.

    • “When the windmills stop turning..”

      Isn’t that when we switch to bullocks and water-wheels?

      Did I miss something in the last 300 years?

      • Mike Westerman

        Wasn’t the stopping of the windmills the signal for Don Quixote to ride!!

  • wideEyedPupil

    “have anything to keep the lights on when the windmills stopped turning”

    What is the export volume of milled grains from SA? Must be more than self consumption if it’s such a big deal to our wise PM, right?

  • RobertO

    Hi All, as we change to RE we will still have coal power for a while (shorter is best). If Snowy 2 gets the go ahead then this system will reduce coal power. Solar during the middle of the day has to be used somewhere (or curtailed, unlikely) and then released back into the network at peak times. As solar (and wind) get stronger % wise then this will convert Snowy 2 into a RE user (rather that a coal user). If Snowy 2 is 2500 MW then it will remove about 2000 MW of coal from NSW or Vic. In these two states Household solar will continue to grow and will eventually help remove the coal. If a new interconnect (NSW) into SA is built then SA RE will contribute to coal downfall and if linked to a CRE zone (see Finkle recommendations 5.3(?)) then this would help kill coal. Our main danger is so called “capacity payments to coal” to keep them running when economics tell the owner it time to go (with Finkle 3 years formal notice).

    • Joe

      Snowy 2.0, Turnbull’s ‘World’s Biggest Battery’, to be and powered by Coal…just music to The COALition’s ears.

      • RobertO

        Hi Joe, Just don’t tell the Mad Monk that this will start as about 90% coal powered and will overtime move to almost 100 RE. The 90% coal is based on estimate of current RE supply in NEM eastern (NEM – E) states. This PHES will compete with coal at peak time hence will put pressure on some coal to retire, hence without adding new RE has the potential to increase the % of RE in the NEM – E This is a very subtle way of killing so coal (I suspect about 75% of its power, i.e. if Snowy 2 is 2500 MW then coal will lose about 2000MW and it will be running MW not just name plate). Is this the right move, given we need to move to RE, I am not sure, but anything that kill coal is better that doing nothing.

        • Coley

          While agreeing totally on the need to dispense with coal (and other FFs) can we agree to change the terminology? Why talk of “killing coal” its a fuel that has served us very well and just needs to be quickly and honourably ‘retired’
          And joking apart, the talk of “killing” just feeds into the Murdoch led agenda of ‘greenies wanting to destroy your lifestyle’
          Thank you Granda Coal, father Oil and you Uncle Gas, your efforts on our behalf are gratefully appreciated, but now it’s time for your well earned retirement.
          -:)

          • RobertO

            Hi Coley
            Point taken and agreed (and I retired from my job, but I work harder and more hr that I use too).

  • C T

    I’ve always wondered how balanced this website. Can I rely on it ? The language and tone of this article have answered that.

    • Yes. There is no denying it. Right wing politics is for idiots. Going on about coal is for idiots. Dumb-dumbs support coal. Coal is for stupid people.

      • RobertO

        Hi RobSa, Please we need coal for today, and no, I am not a right wing nut job (RWNJ). I do support coal for today and I am not stupid!
        My biggest complaint about our Fed Gov is that they have no plan on how they will manage RE. Solar on households will continue to grow, and they are doing it because of price. If the Fed Gov attempts to stop household somehow households will revolt by abandoning the grid, which will result in less coal generation, and possibly higher prices for those left on the grid. We current consumers will pay with higher prices (as we are both gouged by Gentailers and paying for new suppliers for about the next 5 years or so). I believe that most coal will be gone by then, unless the COALition manages to do something very stupid, such as implementing the NEG or guaranteeing capacity payments for coal power.

  • Jolly Roger

    “And if Snowy 2.0 is built in these circumstances, it will lock in the
    power of the incumbents, the arrival of zero marginal cost generation
    from wind and solar will be kept to a minimum, and it won’t just be
    customers getting screwed, it will be the planet as well.” So are you saying that a change of government wouldn’t matter ? That somehow a new government’s hands would be tied ? I find that hard to believe. For example after the Desal plant was built in Victoria it rarely gets used. I prefer to think Australia can still do an about face.

  • Coley

    Anyone looking for info on Australia’s current GHGe and related topics will come across this pile of rubbish!
    http://www.environment.gov.au/submissions/climate-change/review-climate-change-policies-2017/bill-burrows.docx
    What a self serving right-wing pile of crock!

  • Barry Alternative Fact Covfefe

    He can certainly slow things but consumers will vote with their wallets, grid defection is getting cheaper and cheaper every day.

  • Robin_Harrison

    I no longer watch Q&A. Seeing the self-righteous politicians, all of them, trawl through their inevitable BS is my idea of a prime waste of time. Surely there was someone on the panel to expose his lies or is Auntie even more compromised by wealth and influence than I thought?

    • Robert Comerford

      My response from Auntie when complaining about parroting the lies about thousands of jobs from the Adani mine during the leadup to the Qld election did nothing to change my opinion that the ABC is also now part of the problem.

  • Rob

    Its agonising isn’t it that Turnbull and the other corrupt morons of the COALition refuse to acknowledge the truth and take the appropriate action. I only hope that the Australian people are aware enough of what’s going on to turf them out come the next election. If they don’t then we deserve everything we get.

  • Richie

    Beautifully said, Giles. You have the knowledge and articulacy to call out criminal ignorance (or is it self interest?) when we see it. In my case, blind rage at the misinformation we were subjected to on Monday night’s Q&A just renders me speechless. Whereas you have the temperament to calmly and logically rebut the trash talk.
    My question to you is: Why, oh why are you not on mainstream media every day doing just that? The majority of us need a spokesperson like yourself who can dissect every patronising platitude, half truth and downright lie that comes from the right wing of this government.
    Please keep it up. You are a champion.

    • Were you expecting logic and reason from the prime minister of Australia on prime time tv? I don’t think you have a good understanding of how media and propaganda operate.

  • Chris Marshalk

    No point on bitching about the words of an Idiot PM. Vote these corrupt, incompetent, useless, greedy, coal loving, backwards thinking LNP parasites “OUT” at the next election – which can’t come soon enough.

    • Hettie

      3 more sleeps to the Bennelong by election. If KK gets up, Waffles will be in all sorts of trouble when Parliament resumes in February. Not enough numbers to block referral of several Library MPS to the High Court.
      General Election by Easter.
      Bye bye Waffles & co, hello sanity.

  • Rob G

    Trumbull’s Snowy Hydro 2.0 parroting is amusing whenever he brings it up. It is presented as ‘happening’ and the answer to our troubles. A symbol of action. But the problem is it’s only a feasibility study…. Like so much of what he said on Q&A – he seeks to mislead. If you offer nothing then misleading is really the only option.

  • DevMac

    “Energy policy has to be driven by engineering and economics, not by ideology, and as we’ve seen, for example, in South Australia, sheer idiocy.”

    From the Prime Minister of a country that currently has the largest operational Lithium-ion battery in the world, do we hear positivity and praise from his party? No, only negativity. Australia, or at least the party governing it, does not want to be the world leader in renewable energy or energy technology implementation.

    That stance makes no sense. That stance is against the economic interests of the country. Being a world leader in any field is a potential economic boon to any country smart enough to manage it properly. Who was it talking up innovation not so long ago?

    How does the Australian Liberal Party use this opportunity? By belittling it in order to try (and fail) to score political points against a State Government. Schoolyard bully losing a fight against a smaller opponent. Ha!

    How long until the next election?

    (I don’t pin much hope on Labor either, but the current crop don’t deserve any more time on the pedestal).

  • PaulC

    Seems to me that this should be all about the market. For better or worse, we have a national energy market. [Whether that makes huge sense given the geography, and in a future of distributed RE and smaller generation units is open to debate – but that’s where we stand today.]

    This seems the aspect to attack: we have a free-market government which wants to intervene in our free (but deeply flawed) market via the NEG, tilting the rules to pick winners – i.e. favouring legacy fuels – but in doing so failing completely to address the competitive market dimension. Not once have the government acknowledged market failure here, nor looked in the mirror to understand the causes.

    Surely, it is only by proper operation of the market (i.e. market reform with rules encouraging new entrants and competition) that we get the optimised cost, emissions, and reliability outcomes we all desire? That remains the unaddressed pachyderm here because without that competitive market operation, I fear costs will continue to rise as incumbents line their pockets – irrespective of generation mix, reliability or emissions. This was a key conclusion in Finkel ‘s review from what I’ve read of it.

    History shows that governments the world over have a deplorable track record when it comes to picking winners (and overruling markets) and yet that is what our government immediately reaches for. Ideology pushes them towards fossil fuels, but even if they chose solar over coal, the outcomes might well be better but still flawed. [We can equally say Snowy 2.0 is also trying to pick winners – noting political expediency doesn’t represent a valid business case!]

    Would it not be far more sensible to appropriately reform the market and then let the market decide? – requiring first that we level the playing field by correctly accounting for the external costs. It remains this externalisation of costs by the fossil fuel sector (pollution, remediation, warming impacts, and subsidised inputs/infrastructure) which ultimately creates costs that we all bear (through both prices and taxes) and allows legacy approaches to appear cost competitive. [Rather than making the fossil fuels bear their true costs, we chose instead to subsidise the alternatives: the right outcome, but a mechanism which allows twisting the argument towards the subsidised option somehow being bad.]

    • Mike Westerman

      Paul IMO you are hitting the nail on the head: as long as we have a “market” that allows me to bid low but receive the price of the highest dispatched bidder, we will have perverse behaviour. The market needs to be reformed, if only by putting the squeeze on incumbents by periodic reverse auctions.

  • Hettie

    I finally gritted my teeth and watched Malcolm’s own train crash on iView this morning.
    Reachtel polls notwithstanding, if KK doesn’t win Bennelong on Saturday it certainly won’t be Waffles’ fault. Anyone who watched his gobsmackingly horrible performance would be forgiven for thinking he was trying to ensure KK would win.
    The only time getting came close to saying the right thing was to the woman asking why the NDIS must review, every six months, the funding for her severely disabled brother, whose condition can never improve. Even then, it was after a reflex “my government is perfect” type of response.
    Revolting, smug, arrogant, patronising creep.

    • This is because everything right-wing is bogus. That is the reason that trumballs is so awful and that Abbott was disgusting. When you have bogus ideology you can only produce nonsense like trumballs did.

  • RobertO

    Hi All, I am sitting on the fence about Snowy 2. Yes it is not RE per say, but it’s an energy user to make storage of energy i.e. very big battery. If the feasibility shows that it is need long term, and / or it is relative quick to install (building an underground tunnel and adding turbines and penstocks if required), and the transmission is able to incorporate a CRE zone (EPA requirements) maybe! If the system has to buy energy then they will do it at the cheapest possible price, and I suspect that may be coming solar in the middle of the day and also wind if it is excess supply. Whatever size Snowy 2 is, it will compete with coal generation during peak periods and therefore it will remove up to 70% of what size Snowy 2 is over time as more RE is added to the system. In the NEM currently (on average about) 10% of the supply is RE, therefore Snowy 2 will use about 10 % RE and 90% coal power, (one side effect is that it may effective increase the % of RE in the network without adding any RE because it will drives some coal into retirement). As more RE is added to the network the % of RE used by Snowy 2 will increase (and I do not believe they will enter into contracts of supply from coal, because that will be too expensive). If SA to NSW interconnect and they link it to Snowy 2, and / or if Bass Link 2 is built and linked to Snowy 2, then these options may make Snowy 2 better. The links may not be direct and may be just existing large transmission pathways, or even just upgradeable pathways (that may be required anyway later in our change to RE (over a period of time)

    • PaulC

      I agree that energy mix feeding storage is a separate problem for the market to solve. Two questions on Snowy2 here:

      1. Will Snowy2 go ahead and will it prove to have been the best option?

      I’m reminded of the Howard era when many issues were subject to study, report, and feasibility, but never got beyond. In terms of best option, there is a long lead time (some suggest 8 years), where other options may be quicker and other decentralised firming technology (cheap flow batteries, heat storage, etc.) may evolve to overtake it.

      I’d feel more confident of the utility of such a solution if there was a blueprint for the future grid. That’s very hard of course, but I dont detect much effort applied or even clear ownership of that goal.

      2. Does it mean even more investment in poles and wires?

      We know much of the tranmission infrastructure is shared, but more interconnectors means significant cost. Is this needed to get the benefits and if so will this be accounted for in the business case? If the future is more localised RE, this could be wasted investment?

      Again, the lack of clear vision or medium-term plan for the whole system makes this a risk. We pay, the goalposts move, and we pay again.

      Overall, it feels like this is a knee-jerk reaction rather than a well-crafted strategy. I guess we’ll see when more details emerge.

      • RobertO

        Hi Paul C, Will it prove to have been the best option? Only time will tell, however we need to be doing things now and if we do not, ie we wait until we change governments will this help if the COALition manages to get re-elected and that make it 5 or so years wait. Remember this was a political announcement so if I was doing the announcement I would make sure that I told people (hinted or rumours) that this would take a very long time (8 years or so) knowing that it may only be 2 years or less. Think of the approval rating going up as I con the general public with a job that may be questionable project (2Toungs approval rating will go up it it turns out to be a short project,and much easier to sell). I agree that we are heading to a distrubited network with storage and lots of this will be local (privides good security) however interconnects give the ability to increase reliability (shares RE around the network better, sun in north and wind in south and we still need big storage to cope with no RE, for a few days given that we have gas generalors which can be gotten up and running and only used for a total of 5 to 10 days a year) Interconnects if built through CRE zones should start to pay for themselves as RE holdup are transmission issues.
        Until we see the feasibility then there are too many question marks for Snowy 2 but as for interconnects and CRE zones we need them now and the two also should be combined (say somewhere near Ceduna to Port Augusta to Broken Hill and on to say Liddell (to pick up access to Sydney, ie wind power in SA no longer constrained and all paid for by people bidding access to the line in the CRE zone in Broken Hill / western NSW, Solar and Wind projects). 100 % hindsight is always a hinderence when progress is required, and yes this may not be the best available idea when we look back on it in 50 years time, but doing nothing may be worse idea.

  • epicycler

    this was reading well until I got to Snowy 2.0.

    Pumped storage on that scale is either strategically brilliant or a thought bubble.

    I suspect the right project for the wrong reasons. It doesn’t fit with all the other nonsense.