Whichever way you cut it, Turnbull's climate policy is still a sham | RenewEconomy

Whichever way you cut it, Turnbull’s climate policy is still a sham

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Alan Jones says Craig Kelly should be energy minister. In effect, he already is, because the Coalition’s woeful policy is a craven attempt to pacify the right wing. Despite the NEG, or maybe because of it, a bipartisan approach to energy and climate is as elusive as ever.

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Last night I had the misfortune, as I was flicking through the channels trying to find the football on Foxtel, of stumbling across a Sky News TV show, where Alan Jones, Peta Credlin and Craig Kelly were holding forth and discussing energy.

It was full of the normal bollocks – gross exaggerations about the cost of renewable subsidies, fantasy statistics over the number of new coal fired stations being built around the world, and heroic assumptions about the economic merits of a new coal-fired generator in Australia.

“You should be energy minister,” Jones told Kelly, the chairman of the backbench committee on energy.

The tragedy is that, for all intents and purposes, Kelly already is – and has been for years.

Australia’s energy policy and climate policy is deliberately calibrated to pander to the far right ideologues and climate science deniers, like Kelly, Abbott, Joyce and Abetz, and several dozen others within the Coalition party room.

The policies are calibrated for no other constituency, apart from the fossil fuel industry itself. And there is nothing to suggest that it is about to change.

Nowhere is this more clear than in the National Energy Guarantee, which has produced an arbitrary and plainly inadequate emissions reduction target for the electricity sector of 26 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

It is known by all that electricity has the capacity to achieve much greater and cheaper reductions than any other sector. So why is electricity restricted to 26 per cent?

The answer can only be to apply a deliberate brake to the clean energy transition that is upon us.

Worse, the Coalition does not even have an emissions reduction policy or plan for the rest of the economy.

Transport could be an option, but already Kelly is trying to swat away electric vehicle incentives as a carbon tax on wheels.

Without a significant increase in renewables, reductions in transport emissions through electrification will be difficult. And no one in the Coalition wants to go near building standards.

The federal Coalition government has now been in power for five years, and apart from killing the carbon price, slashing the renewable energy target, attempting to kill key institutions like the CEFC and ARENA, and ignoring others like the Climate Change Authority, it has produced absolutely nothing.

The NEG, for all intents and purposes, does not exist. It is like entering a room with a door painted in one corner, with a sign saying “bipartisan agreement”.

We are invited to walk through it. But of course, the door does not – and can not – open, because unless Turnbull gets serious about emissions, there will be no bipartisan agreement.

As we wrote yesterday, a rethink about reliability and how to embrace new technologies, has more or less made the reliability guarantee redundant.

However, we should note that it is hugely gratifying that key energy institutions like the Australian Energy Markets Commission and the Australian Energy Market Operator have emerged from the exercise with a whole-hearted embrace of the clean energy transition.

The only thing standing in the way of this transition is the government and its totemic gesture towards climate policy. At the moment, this policy makes the emissions guarantee completely irrelevant because its target is worse than if the NEG did not exist.

This leaves the question of future targets and the flexibility to change as absolutely paramount, and one that must be at the centre of discussions at the COAG energy ministers on Friday.

The Coalition wants to lock in its weak targets for at least a decade. Labor wants to be able to change it quickly should it get into power. If the Coalition has its way, it would be an unmitigated disaster.

And the clean energy industry is starting to wake to this. As these tweets above from the head of Neoen Australia, the builder of the Tesla big battery and numerous other wind and solar farms, and the former ACT climate change minister.

So, in effect, we are no closer to bipartisan agreement and long-term certainty than we were before the NEG.

The ACT government is right. If there is no flexibility and scaleability in the emissions target, then it should be rejected.

That leaves the matter to consumers – both small and large. They now hold the keys, and the wallets, to the future of this energy transition.

The Green Energy Markets study, written up by analyst Tristan Edis in this piece, is informative.

Edis notes that there is enough capacity being built or about to be built to meet not just the 26 per cent target with ease, but even the 41,000GWh renewable energy target that Abbott slashed under the pretence that such a target would be impossible to meet.

His analysis adds to the increasing evidence that business as usual would provide a retrograde step, effectively throwing the transition into reverse if the weak target became binding and influenced investment decisions.

The one bright spot is the uptake of rooftop solar – which is now running 50 per cent ahead of forecasts. Consumers have had enough of the government’s lack of action on climate and energy, and are voting with their solar cells.

That gives consumers at least some consolation. As we have been saying for years, every kWh of production from rooftop solar is one kWh of production less from fossil fuels. Households and other consumers can and do make a difference.

So too can big energy consumers, the big refineries and manufacturers who are also starting to switch to renewables, and who could be the only driving force in the take up of large-scale wind and solar over the coming decade, if government policy does not change.

That’s great, but it’s so far short of what could be achieved. Australia, as Morgan Stanley analysts write, should be the centre of disruption, given its enormous resources, and the response of consumers – both in the uptake of solar and storage, and their readiness for electric vehicles.

But as Sophie Vorrath notes in this piece, Australia is being outshone by the UK, of all Tory governments, with a commitment to end coal within a few years, ban the sale of diesel and petrol vehicles, and set a long term target of zero emissions.

At least the energy institutions now stand ready. AEMO’s Integrated System Plan has received some interesting responses, mostly about the need to recognise the accelerating change in consumer habits and distributed generation – solar, storage, demand management, EVs.

It’s time for the politicians to get out of way and remove the hurdles. It may mean having to shout down a noisy but ignorant right wing within their own party and commentariat.

It’s known as leadership. So let’s have some, from the man who promised he wouldn’t lead a party that did not take climate change seriously.

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  1. mick 2 years ago

    maybe the queen can sack the government

    • Joe 2 years ago

      …where is Sir John Kerr when we really need him.

      • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

        Sitting on a cloud getting pissed as a pickled onion.

    • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

      and replace the Buckingham Palace lights with LEDs.

      • mick 2 years ago

        mate if they sack the lnp il ship my old lister genny over at my expense to run the lighting circuit at bucks pile

        • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

          You’ll get a knighthood for that.

          • mick 2 years ago

            abbott would probably serve one up perfect time for a head butt

  2. Steve159 2 years ago

    I had thought that with all the policy indecision by the LNP, there’s opportunity, in the midst of high electricity prices (a consequence of said indecision), to capitalize by installing utility solar, and together with load-shifting with batteries, taking the cream off the early evening peak, and earning $$. Wasn’t that how the SA Tesla big battery earned a few million in January?

    Seems to me doesn’t matter what the LNP do, in the midst of high prices, the market will cash in.

  3. MaxG 2 years ago

    Anyone who expects the coalition to do something useful for its people is as full of crap as they are; sorry, this can’t be said any differently.

  4. howardpatr 2 years ago

    Alan Jones, Peta Credlin and Craig Kelly are appropriately described as wilfully ignorant liars when it comes to anthropogenic climate change and the renewable energy future who can’t see past the next year; at the longest.

    Future generation will deploy the waste of renewable energy resource which will be needed by them for many other purposes besides burning it.

    • Joe 2 years ago

      Isn’t it amazing how supposedly intelligent people just wilfully ignore science in this case climate science. I wonder if they ( Jones, Credlin, Kelly and all the rest of the deniers ) went to a doctor and they were shown scans of cancer tumours (that would be medical science in that case ) in their bodies, would they say that the tumours don’t exist.

      • Steve159 2 years ago

        No, it’s entirely understandable. By denying climate change they (conservatives) are free to carry on with their wealth creation strategies (e.g. buy a few more houses, rent them out, claim tax deductions, etc), without a care in the world for the environment.

        It’s about personal greed. And when things really go crap, they will expect the taxpayer to mitigate damages, losses. It’s a win-win for them (they win now, and they win later).

        Whereas with a personal drama, like cancer, they’d have their private hospital and specialists look hard and fast at what advanced, expensive treatments they could leverage.

  5. Joe 2 years ago

    It was not so long ago the the ‘Climate Change Denier Axis of Evil’ ( USA under Bush, Canada under Harper and Australia under Howard ) thought that they could hold back the RE tide. Bush is gone but Trump is staying the Climate Denial Course. Harper is gone but Trudeau hasn’t done much beside talking the good talk on acting on climate change. Howard is gone but we are back to Howard ways with Abbott / Turnbull successive Governments. In the US it is the States, cities, councils and companies that are driving the RE change in spite of Trump wanting to make American Coal Great Again. Here in Australia it is playing out similarly to the USA. In spite of Two Tonguer Turnbull and the rest of Libs / Nats COALER Fanboys, Australia is moving to RE. Of course it would all go a lot faster and smoother without the Roadblock of The COALition….next election should fix that.

    • Thucydides 2 years ago

      Strangely, the UK Conservatives seem to have snapped out of it – even talking about zero-net carbon emissions by 2050. There is interesting change afoot in the Old Dart, apparently with overwhelming public support:

      • Joe 2 years ago

        …and OUT of Coal generated power by 2025.

        • PLDD 2 years ago

          Although a lot easier to achieve when you no longer have a coal mining industry of any size or scale. There are no vested interests, and no money in keeping coal as most of its imported. Obviously Thatcher’s legacy but I seem to remember she was quite pro the environment etc. (at odds with many of her other politics).

          • Joe 2 years ago

            Yes, the Thatcher did get it when it comes to climate change.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            Thatcher was a chemist and got the imminent threat of climate change. Pro environment, not so much.

  6. Chris Fraser 2 years ago

    All this echo chamber stuff on Sky News is a bit over the top, even for a neo conservative bumpkin like him. At least he doesn’t pretend to represent Australia. Somewhere, a village is missing its idiot.

    • Joe 2 years ago

      Find the village ASAP.

    • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

      It takes a village to raise an idiot.

  7. David leitch 2 years ago

    The football at least Sydney v Shenhua which I attended last night was very entertaining and a lot of fun. You deserve what you get if watch sky news.

    • Giles 2 years ago

      Safe to say there were no goals scored in either program.

  8. Askgerbil Now 2 years ago

    The Turnbull Government climate policy isn’t only a sham. It is contrary to the Paris Agreement it ratified in November 2016.

  9. Alexander Hromas 2 years ago

    Interesting Jones owns a property in the Darling Downs, inherited, and has been fighting tooth and nail to stop the development of a coal mine next door. He knows that the mine will ruin the farm yet he actively supports coal fired power generation. I wonder if he ever stops to think where the coal will come from.

  10. Hans the Elder 2 years ago

    “sham” or “scam”?

    • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

      Couldn’t it be both?

  11. Thucydides 2 years ago

    Rupert doesn’t think much of Malcolm but neither does he want to be out of government at the next election. If that means cutting loose the useful idiot twins – Tony and Barnaby – well, so be it. Now we have Alan and Peta doing their best to keep up appearances when they should be paying attention to which side of the boss’s bread the butter’s on.

    • Joe 2 years ago

      Apparently young Peta is still running the show in Canberra, if we are to believe her story about her recent phone call to Joshie.

    • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

      It’s like watching the Addams family. Peta looks like the love child of Morticia and Lurch. Jonesy looks like Uncle Fester. There always seems to be a constant rain cloud over them because they’re never happy about anything. I always half expect Thing to run across the desk.

  12. RobertO 2 years ago

    Hi All Craig Kelly is one of our best MP. I have attached a Sydney Morning Herald posting on some ideas that Mr Kelly would like to have in Australia for the COALition. The best one is that you should announce the winner 24 hr before the election (it too slow to arrive afterwards). He is such a forward looking person and a member of Jaaack ass group sometimes called the coal ash group.

    • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

      We have some good psephologists in Australia but they are clearly lacking the astrological capabilities of their Azerbaijani counterparts.

  13. Ben 2 years ago

    It’s hard to reconcile the claim on one hand that the government is standing in the way of renewable investment, and on the other hand highlight that renewable investment will exceed all published targets.

    • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

      It’s not hard to reconcile at all. The government is saying the possibilities are lower than the current realities (because they have narrow and poor modeling based on outdated data) and therefore our ambition should be low. And they want to put measures in place to prevent individual states from having higher ambitions. The reliability measures in the NEG are now obsolete. It’s only purpose now is to limit the renewable energy ambitions of the states. It’s a junk policy from a government whose time is nearly up. The states should reject it, or at least postpone consideration of it until after the next federal election.

      • Ben 2 years ago

        Renewables investment is driven by the RET, which distorts the market. The east coast grid is across many states, a state with a higher target (more subsidies) is competing for renewable capacity against the other states using tax money. This will ensure some less than optimal projects go ahead. It’s a bad deal for consumers all around. The states should agree not to chase (compete) for different targets (higher subsidies), at least for large scale generation.

        The RET is locked in for another decade, there needs to be a mechanism to ensure we end up with 400% wind capacity with no dispatchable sources.

        • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

          The RET is the policy in place to achieve the 2020 target, a 5% reduction in emissions.

          The NEG is supposed to be a policy to achieve our 2030 target, but it will fall miles short because it denies reality and ambition. The 2030 target is a 26-28% reduction in emissions. This Coalition government set that target which they took to Paris.

          Emissions are coming down in electricity generation, but rising in every other part of the economy. A 26% reduction in just electricity emissions alone won’t cut it for an economy-wide 26% reduction target. We need to have more ambition in the reduction of electricity emissions, assuming we are to take the fearful or cynical approach of the Coalition and turn a blind eye to the rising emissions in all the other parts of the economy.

          Unless better electricity emissions targets are put in place now, the states will be the ones who have to pick up the slack in 5 or 10 years time due to the lack of ambition happening now. Turnbull will be long gone from politics by that stage, and so will Abbott. Food for thought for the states tomorrow.

          • Ben 2 years ago

            The RET increases until 2020, then remains at 33,000 GWh until 2030. That is the incentive, renewable generators get paid twice, once for the spot market / contracts / services, and again for the renewable certificate at the certificate price, until 2030.

            Emissions in other sectors are rising because the economy is ramping up and population is increasing. We mine stuff and grow stuff and move stuff, that isn’t going to change. Even if the power sector completely decarbonised in a few years the rest will catch up.

            There are several facts that should be disclosed:
            – if the entire country was covered in wind and solar farms and they were all interconnected, we’d still have blackouts
            – if the entire population turned their power off and sat still until they died, global emissions would be unaffected by any measurable amount
            – nuclear would sort out the power industry
            – wind penetration globally is displacing coal but increasing gas, to fill in the gaps left by the weather

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            Renewable generators don’t get paid twice. The certificate price allows them to bid into wholesale spot markets at near zero prices, pushing highly expensive gas fired powered out of the bid stack, particularly at peak demand times which are the most expensive, when the certificate price is actually minuscule in the grand scheme of things.

            – the price of energy storage is plummeting. We need to plan to make the best use of it when it crosses a price threshold.
            – you’re right, the emissions we spew up into the atmosphere stay up there for a hundred years
            – nuclear has staggering cost in dollar terms. I was once for nuclear power but now it just costs too much to be taken seriously.
            – wind is displacing gas at the most important times, peak demand times. It has drastically reduced power prices from what they potentially could have been in this high cost-of-gas market.

            Emissions in other sectors are rising because we mine stuff INEFFICIENTLY, we move stuff INEFFICIENTLY, we grow stuff INEFFICIENTLY. An example of the latter being the live export industry coming very close to committing suicide in the last couple of weeks. We are dumb and we need to get smarter, across every sector. We won’t do so until we vote out the Dumb Ass Coalition.

          • Ben 2 years ago

            Renewables bid in when available, dependent on weather. I’ll take your word for it about the bid price.

            Right now at 2130hrs SA is generating 1100 MW from gas, 400 MW from wind. There is little correlation between wind output and peak demand – actually there is an AEMO report reviewing exactly this, and SA wind output historically is 9% installed capacity during 85% of peak summer demand periods (6% during winter peaks) i.e. not much help during peak demand.

            On top of that, there has been > 900 MW variation over 30 min periods in SA wind output.

            This intermittency in generation causes peak pricing i.e. wind drops resulting in sudden demand on gas or the interconnectors. It cannot be otherwise, although I accept that domestic gas price has increased now that gas is not just a by-product of oil production, Bass gas yields are falling, and the price is now linked to the international market (like steel, wool, cotton, sugar, coal etc).

            The peak demand periods where wholesale price is very high (> $1000/MWh) typically last minutes, so comparisons between certificate price and peak wholesale price are disingenuous.

            If by “price of energy storage is plummeting” you mean chemical storage, I totally agree, but there is a world of difference between a domestic battery and large scale grid supply. Here’s a rough comparison for you:
            – 520 MW coal power station at 100% capacity and 100% availability delivers 12,480 MWh over 24h (e.g. Northern Power Station)
            – World’s largest battery delivers 129 MWh then needs a charge, at 80% efficiency
            – that’s 1%, so you’d need 100 of the world’s largest batteries just to match one small-medium coal power station, then you need something huge to charge it up
            – that might seem like a simplified comparison, and of course it is, but it’s close enough to show the magnitude of the difference

            If you mean hydro, I’m all for it. But it’s expensive, like nuclear. Although nuclear is not as expensive as you might think over a 50yr life cycle.

            I’m not sure you can conflate the problems in the live export industry with transport efficiency?

            Global gas use is increasing as wind power capacity increases – it’s easy to check.

            All this passion for 1.5% of global emissions, of which 40% is the electricity sector.

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            Our gas is mostly exported as LNG, which has starved our domestic gas market and driven up domestic gas prices. In the US their fracked gas is mostly used domestically which is why it’s so cheap.

            Even if we opened up more of our farmland to fracking, that added supply would still just be shipped overseas, and so domestic gas prices would remain high. Not only are our gas prices high but they will only rise from here forwards. We need a plan to create a series of pumped hydro projects, and that way we can overbuild renewables and not a single kWh of power will be wasted, and with the hydro storage we can ride through those fluctuations in wind and solar you are talking about. Wind and solar projects are also now bolting battery storage onto their projects almost as a rule.

            The fact is we need to get away from gas as fuel for peaking power. The more wind energy generated, the lower the wholesale price, because it pushes out high-cost gas peaking power


            If our peaking power was supplied by pumped hydro and batteries instead of gas, those high price events in the top left quadrant of the above chart would disappear. Wind technology has also improved to the point where it generates in lower wind, and there is also the option of offshore wind which has a much higher capacity conversion rate. The SA government needs to fulfill it’s promise of building an interconnector to NSW, then the market will build more renewables reducing the fluctuations and any excess renewable power sent to storage or exported to NSW or Victoria.

          • Ben 2 years ago

            I agree with most of that, the problem is that no matter how much wind we build, there are times when it doesn’t generate power. The idea that distributed generation and interconnectors will fix it because “wind is always blowing somewhere” is false.

            Domestic gas price in SA and VIC, mostly from Bass Strait, was always going to increase as demand increased and supply decreased – the natural gas system in SA and VIC was a by-product of off-shore oil field development. When those fields are depleted, as is happening now, the gas supply was always going to get scarce, and the price would be high anyway.

            Yes the wholesale electricity price is often set by high cost gas bidding in last. Yes there is likely an element of gouging by the generators.

            SA wind output historically is 9% installed capacity during 85% of peak summer demand periods. Wind cannot be relied on during peak demand.
            SA wind variability can be > 900 MW in 30 min. That kind of load change on the network causes peak pricing, it doesn’t reduce it.

          • mick 2 years ago

            have a look at the wind oscillation index

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            Hence the need the need for more storage in the form of pumped hydro and batteries. Battery prices are plummeting to the point where within a few years the statewide battery bank will cover those sub 30 minute variabilities in wind output (which btw are highly predictable) with fast reacting supply from battery storage, giving other slower reacting dispatchables the chance to start up from scratch. Preferably pumped hydro because that won’t be have the price hikes we are seeing from the gas peakers due to the high cost of gas (among other reasons).

          • RobertO 2 years ago

            HI Ben Try to keep up. 1 When there are more than 33,000 GWh generated what happens to the price paid to buy the LGC (Large scale Generator Certificate) 2 What happen to the price of the LGC after 2020 when there is no legal requirement to buy the LGC by retailers 3 What the current price of the LGC if you have sold your power and the LGC for under $60.00 per MWh as a generator. Stockyard Hill Wind Farm is one. Currently on the wholesale markets in Australia, Solar and Wind are not allowed to bid on the market place. They offer their production but only Coal, Gas, Hydro and Battery can bid and as these 4 set the price, then that what everybody gets paid. If the whole country was covered by Wind and solar you would power the world during daylight hr, and you would power Australia just on wind alone with about 3 time what we need. So cover every building in Australia with just solar and you would have enough to power Australia Storage is what we need both short term and long term and even then we still will need CH4 gas generation (we can make CH4 gas from H2O plus CO2 if we want to. Even adding just H2 to our Natural Gas pipe line up to 10% volume will improve the reduction in Green House Gases. Interconnects reduce the amount of storage required (they are not a replacement of storage). On a per capita basis we are one of the highest emitters in the world when we also have the potential to be one of the lowest due to the amount of Wind and Solar energy resources available to any part of the world and vast tracts of land which could be used (less than 2% total area would do it).
            Both Wind and Solar are with storage both cheaper and quicker to install so why would you go Nuclear (Estimated price of Henkley in Britain is 92 Euro per MWh verses 53 Euro for Wind plus storage.

          • Ben 2 years ago

            When we exceed 33000 GWh of renewable generation in a year then there will be no LGC for retailers to purchase, so the certificate price goes up – supply and demand – and the retailers increase their pricing accordingly every 6 months.
            The 33000 GWh target is currently set from 2021 to 2030, so I’m not sure why you say retailers no longer have to purchase certificates after 2020.
            If Origin have already paid for the power in advance, and the LGCs, then I guess they see it as somewhat of a hedge for their non-renewable fleet – don’t forget Origin are retailers too and have an obligation to buy LGC.
            Wind farms have a low marginal generation cost which allows them to bid low prices, but they cannot act “on demand” and therefore rarely set the actual market clearing price, which is set by higher cost gas (in SA), particularly when the wind farm drops its output suddenly as the wind stops.
            Your analysis on capability of wind and storage to run the country (and indeed the world) is far from technically accurate.

          • Giles 2 years ago

            Ben, what you say is complete nonsense. All new renewable generators will be able to produce LGCs, so the price is expected to crash, and quite possibly go to zero. The futures market is already showing a price of around $20 for post 2020. Origin have effectively bought many of their LGCs for zero through contracts like that for Stockyard Hill etc. Pretending otherwise is an outright lie.

          • Ben 2 years ago

            It may be incorrect to assume that LGCs will not be issued after the 33,000 GWh target is reached, my bad, but if the LGC price crashes, wind farms become less profitable.

            Unless the wholesale price keeps going up of course.

            Origin are also a retailer and obliged to purchase LGCs. I imagine Origin can legally trade between its generating and retail businesses. They are also a gas supplier with gas generators, similarities exist there too.

            Regardless, we are heading for more trouble, you just have to read the recent AEMO and ESB and AER reports, the increasing number of “lack of reserve” notices, increasing spot market volatility (particularly SA), increasing FCAS requests, the list goes on.

          • Giles 2 years ago

            Your ignorance is breathtaking.
            Your bad? Sorry, you base our entire rant on the fact that wind and solar rely on huge subsidies, and now you acknowledge that the subsidy will end because of “your bad”.
            Why would the wind farms be less profitable. Most of them have signed fixed contracts for the next 12 years that include a wholesale price that is lower than the current one and zero value on the LGCs. Nothing changes for them. Just the consumer gets more of a cheaper supply of energy whose price is locked in.
            The number of LOR notices in last year is actually less than it was in 2008, 2009, look to the left of the graph.
            Stop making stuff up.

          • Ben 2 years ago

            I can admit my mistakes pal, which was in a single paragraph responding to somebody else’s question – I think it was a question anyway.

            My reference for LOR is the Energy Security Board “Health of the National Electricity Market 2017” figure 3.9.

            My original critique of your column (I presume it’s yours) stands.

          • Giles 2 years ago

            Also, read the NEG documentation. The Energy Security Board says there is no reliability issue in the next 10 years. Therefore, the reliability obligation will not be invoked. So much for heading into trouble.

          • Ben 2 years ago

            The NEG consultation paper (page 10) identifies that, “The growth of large-scale intermittent generation is changing how the power system needs to be managed to maintain security and deliver reliable supply to customers. These technologies do not generally have the same attributes as the generators that are exiting, such as synchronicity and dispatchability.”

            Similar terminology is used throughout AEMO, AER and ESB.

          • Giles 2 years ago

            Yep, in the same way the transition from the horse and cart to automobiles presented challenges to transport regulators, the transition from landlines to mobiles, from analogue to digital, etc etc. Challenges yes, because people have to change the way they think about things. Still likely to end up with a cleaner, cheaper, more reliable grid, as the ESB note.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Puts me in mind of a presentation on disruptive technologies that showed a street in New York in ? 1903, jammed with horse drawn vehicles, and one motor car.
            Same street 10 years later, jammed with motor cars and vans, one horse.
            Once the tipping point arrives, the switch to the new happens with stunning speed.
            Think smart phones. None in 2005. Now almost everyone has one, and landlines are kept on for oldies like me, who have friends who refuse to use anything else, or who have family overseas that won’t use Skype.
            Now that EV capital cost is falling, the stunning economies on fuel and maintenance will make them no brainer choices. The charging points will soon follow.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            That’s tonyseba.com he presents that talk quite a few times a year all over the world (wonder what his footprint is!). It’s a brilliant talk about convergence, disruption and technological revolution and starts in 1903 for those a little resistant to take on new words easily.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Yes, that’s the one. Thanks for the link. I’d like to watch it again.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            If you type “Tony Seba” into YouTube there’s a bunch of his presentations. But they all seem tonstart with the historical example of distinction, becauses it’s so powerful I expect.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Finally got to watch it through to the end.
            Who else would like to nail the feet of ALL politicans to the floor and force them to watch AND listen to this? Twice.
            Suppose Seba is right.
            Coal superseded by solar worldwide by 2020.
            Coal is our biggest export product.
            Lithium batteries growing exponentially.
            We have huge lithium reserves, and some cobalt.
            So we should be pulling all the stops out to start manufacturing lithium ion batteries right here.
            That kills 2 birds with one stone.
            It gives us a viable manufacturing industry, and a value added export industry to replace coal.
            No need to stand while you applaud.

          • Ian 2 years ago

            You are so right Hettie, battery manufacturing in Australia makes a lot of sense. Consider an average EV would probably require 40 kWh of batteries and we register 1 million cars a year that is at least a 40 GWh market. Any state government worth half their weight in salt should be throwing bundles of cash at someone like Panasonic/ Tesla to set up a gigafactory here.

            With the dawn of the robot manufacturing era, Australia is the perfect place to build factories. Plenty of cheap energy, lots of dry land, very stable geology, markedly stable climate in most areas without the risk of flood or typhoon, stable political system with very low corruption, motivated and educated workforce, excellent road and rail and port infrastructure. We should be trying to attract automated manufacturing like solar panels, batteries, pharmaceuticals etc. we could be the new China or Mexico of manufacturing

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Don’t forget that Musk has identified poorly designed parts if the robot chain as the cause of production problems for the 3.
            I would hope that more emphasis be placed on jobs for people.
            And we should be making batteries for export, too. As well as EVs.

        • Giles 2 years ago

          You say: “The east coast grid is across many states, a state with a higher target (more subsidies) is competing for renewable capacity against the other states using tax money. This will ensure some less than optimal projects go ahead.”
          No tax money is involved. Repeat. No Tax Money.
          Actually, the state competition means that the more optimal projects go ahead.

          • Ben 2 years ago

            Didn’t SA just commit $500m to renewables projects?

            Didn’t ARENA commit $100m to the SA solar thermal project?

            Isnt the QLD government underwriting a bunch of renewable projects?

          • Giles 2 years ago

            Didn’t SA just commit $500m to renewables projects?
            No, which ones?

            Didn’t ARENA commit $100m to the SA solar thermal project?
            Not yet

            Isnt the QLD government underwriting a bunch of renewable projects?
            They’ve written contracts for supply, in the same way they have written contracts of supply with their coal and gas generators.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Ben, dear, have you never heard the advice, better to remain silent and have people suspect you are a fool, than speak, and prove them right?

          • RobertO 2 years ago

            Hi Hettie YEP!!!!!! I tried to help but he did not want to listen.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            I somehow doubt that he will understand my comment.

          • Ben 2 years ago

            Hettie, love, you might have also heard, “nothing ventured nothing gained”…?

            I’m still learning about markets and subsidies, but my education, training and work experience in power generation means I can confidently discuss the technical aspects. I have observed that most people don’t know much about either the economic or technical facets of the industry and don’t care to learn…

            I am finding that ideology, hostility and intolerance seem to go hand in hand, is that your experience, dear?

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Ok, Ben, I have learned a great deal on this site, not by making too many assertions (except political ones), but by asking questions. Then, when I think I’m getting a handle on something, checking like this:
            “So if I’ve got this right, the HPR can detect a sudden drop in supply in milliseconds, and squirt a few megawatts into the grid for long enough that the reserve generators can fire up and take over the shortfall, before the grid is destabilised. Is that right?”
            Then someone like Cooma Doug, or Giles, or any one of the tech experts will reply with “yes, you’ve got it,” or “not quite, it’s more that…” or even “nah, way off, it works like this…..”
            All with enormous good will, that initially amazed me. Why would any of these experts care or bother to educate a grumpy old woman about their field of expertise? But they do. And we often have a lot of fun.
            Try,” I think I’ve read that blah blah, is that right?” and you will be treated kindly.
            But if you go off half cocked with a lot of incorrect assertions, you get slapped down.

          • Ben 2 years ago

            Slapping down certainly seems to be the go to option, thanks for clarifying that.

            As for “HPR saved the grid”, if your tech experts have given you that idea, then there are a few gaps.

        • Giles 2 years ago

          You say: The RET is locked in for another decade, there needs to be a mechanism to ensure we don’t end up with 400% wind capacity with no dispatchable sources.
          How the hell would that happen?

          • Ben 2 years ago

            The logical outcome of investment in renewables and zero investment in anything else, is 100% renewables. I believe that would be your preferred position, correct me if I’m wrong.

            My point about 400% refers to installed capacity vs demand, since as you would surely know, wind average output is 35% of capacity. If wind installed capacity was 400% of demand, then some might say that would cover demand, but of course it won’t due the short term variability of wind farm output and the fact that wind farm output doesn’t follow demand.

        • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

          The RET ends in 2020 in terms of supporting new developments, it’s continuation is just in terms of RECs for existing projects. The value of RECs may actually tank after ~2022 due to oversupply.

          • Ian 2 years ago

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but are the STC (that allow roof top solar systems to be so affordable) linked to the RET? If the target is met then the STC will no longer apply? In other words is the NEG a move to stop any further STC support for home owners wishing to install solar? If that’s the case we could see the cost of rooftop solar systems double. How kindly would the electorate take to that move?

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            STCs and LGCs are separately administered. I’m not sure of the implications of 2020 finish on STCs, i’ve wondered about it too in the past but never bother to look into it. I doubt installed systems prices would double, installers would have to take a hit to absorb it to stay in business and I don’t think it’s as much as that off the price anyhow. But let’s get the facts before we speculate too much!

          • RobertO 2 years ago

            Hi Alastair Leith, Yes they are seperate and yes the STC drop each year by $50 (I think it is per Kw) until 2030. The old rule was under 100 Kw then STC but if over 100 Kw system you could chose either STC or LGC but that has now change to only 100 Kw and over is LGC only.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            I’m pretty sure they are. The number of STCs a home solar install attracts for one year is based on the rated daily output times a multiplier that factors in location to determine the expected actual annual output.
            That is then multiplied by the number of years remaining until 2030, when STCs finish.
            I’m talking from my efforts last year to find out about them, relative to my own installation.
            The solar installer credits the value to the client, and sells the STCs to a fossil fuel generators or gentailers, who have the requirement to buy them to meet their obligations under the clean energy target. Which ends 2030.
            Clear as mud?
            STCs are the incentive mechanism devised to ensure the emissions reduction target could be reached.
            LGCs are for industrial level wind farms and solar farms. Apart from that, I know nothing. Except that they now have zero value, because the target has been reached.

      • Hettie 2 years ago

        We should all be sending fierce thought messages to COAG, urging the states to consign NEG to the outer darkness where it belongs.
        How many of you, dear readers, sent emails to your state energy minister’s demanding that they reject it?
        Yes, I did. Also posted that email text all over Facebook, and the link from GetUp that gives names and email addresses of all state energy ministers.

        Should have posted it here too. Bit late now. Sorry.

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          Aarrrggghh. News just in. NEG waved through. Next meeting August.
          Oh please, dear dog, let us have a change of Gov’t by then.

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            Possible. They’ll probably want to go to election before the Malodorous findings of the banking RC are handed down and people are reminded that Mal himself, Scott Mor’on, Joshster and all their Coalition friends voted two dozen times against having a banking RC.

          • RobertO 2 years ago

            Hi Ren Stimpy, I suspect that there is too much coming from the RC so they will try to hang on until early next year hoping for a state blackout or shortage over summer to keep the idea of the NEG as the best policy, or the cheapest most reliable is coal so we need to build another one. I am expecting lots of lies and mis-information to be broadcast in this next election (We ordered the RC, not that we tried to stop the RC with “We do not need the RC some 23 times!”

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            We need an RC into the effect climate change is having on rural Australia and other industries such as the Great Barrier Reef tourism industry. Let Barnaby and his fellow Nats vote against that 23 times before the truth finally comes out!

          • RobertO 2 years ago

            Hi Ren Stimpy Good Luck on that one (I need a laugh as well so “Thank You”). I keep thinking that the Nationals support farmers but the Nationals also support “Man does not make climate change” and “We must also build new coal power station” (Jaaack ass group or coal ash group).

    • RobertO 2 years ago

      HI Ben. Labour started with a target of 44,000 GWh with CEFC and AREANA as lead agencies to promote RE. Change Gov to Abbot and we then had a new target of 33,000 GWh and $500 million removed from CEFC and AREANA told to reclaim grants from customers where possible. There is a bill in Fed Gov to change the rules of the CEFC so that they can promote Carbon Capture Schemes.
      The current Fed Gov has a simple plan in the NEG to stop RE because they do not believe in Climate Change (or Man does not cause climate change). Based on simple costs alone coal power will not be constructed in Australia and we are also very close to the point where to feed a coal power station is more expensive that it is to build new RE power supplies with storage.
      Your only statement that I have seen that is correct is “We face problems with Power” and that is true given that we as a country have no plan on how we should manage this change over that seems to be happening into RE.

      What happens to our exports to China if they decide to install a Carbon Tax? Will our imports go up, will our exports to China go up as a Tax on arrival in China.
      What happens if China decides that any country that exports Carbon (Coal or Gas) will not be allowed to buy Chinese goods and services?

      I believe that we will convert over to RE as our major supplies of electricity and that we will close all coal power stations (managed and planned is better than no plan and leave it to private companies to decide when). I hope that we can do it in 7 to 10 years, noting that gas remains active (back up).

      New Zealand has been using PHES for some 70 years and it seems that we will use a lot more in Australia.

      • Ben 2 years ago

        RobertO, intermittent renewables – wind and solar – cannot match the electricity demand. There is no simpler way of saying it.

        But batteries – capacity is nowhere near adequate for large scale – fine for small islanded off-grid systems, fine for some load reduction via rooftop solar.

        But hydro – works fine in some areas – look at Snowy Hydro, Brisbane, Tasmania – but Australia is a dry continent. Even Snowy Hydro has a couple of gas powered peaker plants, I’ve worked on one of them.

        But solar thermal – can provide 100% output for up to 15hrs, also expensive and small output, but if the cost comes down and we can install lots of them, then yeah sure. Also requires lots of demin water to clean the lenses. The solar thermal FEED I worked on during the government’s ill-fated solar flagship program a while back identified other challenges too.

        But geothermal – low quality steam, and it releases GHG out of the ground, depending on geology but not much better than a CCGT gas turbine for emissions – the geothermal rehab I worked on in the Philippines was an eye opener.

        But CCS – expensive to install and operate, also expensive to transport the CO2.

        There isn’t enough gas power installed in the country to change to only gas backup in 10yrs.

        • RobertO 2 years ago

          Hi Ben. So no plan is the best that you can do, do not even try it as RE (only Solar, only Wind are so intermittent).
          Can you confirm the reliability of Coal power for me (in Australia it about 55%. Yes it has s Capacity factor of + 90% and where will these be in 10 years’ time)

          To install a grid battery system in Australia about 1 year.
          To install a solar farm in Australia about 2 years.
          To install a Wind farm about 5 to 7 years.
          To install PHES systems about 5 to 10 years (You need to read up on Water Losses of PHES systems)
          To install H2 electrolysis system (They are off the shelf systems readily available see http://nelhydrogen.com/product/electrolysers/#a-range-title)
          To install new interconnects 3 years to 10 years.

          To change over we need more of all the above and the Fed Gov answer is the NEG (Stop RE at all costs)

          So install Wind and Solar, attach storage to some said farms (and some households are already doing it about 33,000 small battery systems this years is current estimates) Some farms may be better served by installing H2 systems.

          The hardest part of this is how much do we need to do. Our current absolute max is about 38 GW so we are going to need somewhere about 76 GW plus.
          So during times of high RE PHES and Batteries will absorb excess and some will be converted into H2, During periods of Low RE PHES and Batteries will return electricity to system. Best RE for Wind is southern part of the country and best Solar is northern parts of the country so interconnects will improve the reliability of RE (look also at combined Wind/Solar/ Battery system, Sapphire Wind Farm plan).

          When Solar plus Wind plus Storage are built coal will not be able to compete with the prices being offered (Worldwide RE prices are dropping so they will follow here in Australia).

          Gas will never need to be more that about 25% of total because it only back up for when we have long term issues with RE supply.

          Here are more ideas to also add to RE change over
          Battery of the Nation Project
          Snowy 2 Project
          Demand Management (WA installed it in 2001 I beleive)
          Anaerobic Digestion (in 1955 LA had 24 1500 HP electric generators running on sewage plant and Sydney in 2017 still pumps some 20% sewage straight out to sea with no treatment)

          There is no absolute right answer for RE change over but there is one absolute wrong answer for the change over to RE and that is “We do not need to plan for this change over to RE no matter how long it takes.

          Car Fact for you. When you drive a car you must have a person walking in front of the car waving a red flag. I beleive this was law (in UK or USA in 1904).

        • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

          “RobertO, intermittent renewables – wind and solar – cannot match the electricity demand. There is no simpler way of saying it.”

          Why not? People have calculated how much electricity would have been produced using historical weather data, and have found that for all but a few hours of the last ten years or so there would have been plenty of electricity. Weather doesn’t happen simultaneously all over the continent; weather systems take several days to travel over Australia giving different conditions to each place in turn. Adding more transmission lines would allow moving power from places that temporarily have too much to places which temporarily don’t have enough.
          What actual evidence do you have to back up your assertion that renewables can’t match demand?

          • RobertO 2 years ago

            Hi Calamity Jane, Yes we could and that just Solar and Wind.

          • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

            My name is “Jean” not “Jane”; same letters, different order.

            “Yes we could and that just Solar and Wind.”

            I know that and you know that. Will Ben learn it? Maybe.

          • RobertO 2 years ago

            Hi Calamity_Jean Sorry (English was never my favourite language at school I always did better at Maths and Sciences even when I could not write sentences down but I could write numbers down).

          • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

            English is a relatively easy language to speak but a fiendishly difficult language to read and write. Because English has one foot in the Germanic languages and the other foot in Latin, it has multiple ways to spell the same sound and multiple ways to pronounce the same combination of letters. Even native English speakers have trouble with reading and writing. No wonder it wasn’t your favorite language in school.

          • Ben 2 years ago

            Wind and solar cannot match electricity demand, another way of saying it is you don’t wait for a strong breeze before you use the toaster. That’s an analogy using an everyday item to demonstrate my point.

            Distribution will help increase average capacity factor up to a point, but you can’t install enough wind for the whole country in each corner of each state and connect it all with transmission lines.

            For evidence on performance of wind and solar, in real life, you could try the AEMO South Australia renewable energy report.

            For 85% of periods of peak demand in the last 5yrs wind output was 9% of capacity – SA renewables report.

            SA wind output variation > 900 MW, in 30min, almost half the installed wind capacity – SA renewables report.

            Plans are to double wind capacity in SA (AEMO statement of opportunities) therefore we can expect > 1800 MW output variation in 30min. That’s roughly the total SA load.

            In a scenario like this, at some point the wind will drop off and the gas turbines will be maxed out and the inter connector will be maxed out and there won’t be enough generation, the volts and frequency will drop, the battery will be overwhelmed almost instantly and the protection relays will pick up when measured values reach trip thresholds, the breakers will open and the lights will go out.

            At the moment there is enough capacity in SA gas turbines and coal power stations in VIC to manage the variability. But coal is getting less reliable as it gets older, gas can be scarce.

            AEMO manage the risk of reliability by ensuring there is enough spinning reserve to cover the loss of the largest single unit on the grid, typically at Loy Yang, 500 MW.

            How do you think AEMO can cater for enough online reserve capacity that can automatically ramp up to replace a whole state’s worth of wind?

          • RobertO 2 years ago

            Hi Ben Stop Trolling

          • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

            “How do you think AEMO can cater for enough online reserve capacity that can automatically ramp up to replace a whole state’s worth of wind?”

            Ben, honey, bless your heart. Your ignorance is so obvious that I’m embarrassed for you. Wind isn’t “ON” or “OFF” like flipping a light switch. It’s “more” or “less” like turning the volume knob on a radio. Multiple decades of weather observations reveal that locations that are at least 500 km distant from each other are almost always in different weather systems and therefore have different amounts of wind. South Australia is more than 500 km wide, and will therefore never need to “replace a whole state’s worth of wind”.

          • Ben 2 years ago

            It looks like you have all the answers, you should let AEMO know, they might want your input to their reports.

          • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

            Bennie, sweetie, the answers I’m giving you are so basic that AEMO has probably known them for ten years or more.

        • RobertO 2 years ago

          Hi Ben so Solar and Wind cannot be used to supply electricity (CR** is what you’re saying).
          Wind + Solar + Hydro (any type PHES, Peak, Gravity or run of River) + batteries + Electrolyses + Gas (both man made and Chemical made or non-natural CH4) + Natural gas as final back up.
          Solar plus Wind are cheaper so we will have more that we can use, the excess will be used to support PHES and Batteries and man-made CH4 of which H2 is the primary step.
          Please research PHES and water usage and compare it to what a coal power station uses. Look up Floating Solar Panels if you want to reduce evaporation.
          Simple time frames are as follows
          Grid Battery (sole use to keep network running while you start you Natural Gas Generators such as HPR about 1 year
          Solar Farm about 2 years
          Wind Farm about 5 years
          Hydro Any type 3 to 8 years
          Interconnects 3 to 10 years
          Electrolyses off the shelf (Research NEL Company 1927 started date http://nelhydrogen.com/product/electrolysers/
          Natural Gas Network use existing network

          Hydro study identified some 22, 000 possible PHES sites so I am sure that if Australian Government wanted to they could set about building any small number of these (say 50 and this would use less water that just 2 coal power station).

          Go and read anything you can find on the following
          Battery of the Nation
          Snowy 2
          Anaerobic Digestion

          In 1955 LA in the USA had 24 engines at 1500 Hp generators running on Sewage Farm. Sydney in 1984 simply pumped all sewage out to sea, no treatment what so ever but screens to stop rocks that could block the outlets. In 2011 Sydney had 5 units primary treatments system running (producing some electricity) and in 2017 Sydney finally got secondary treatment running at one site. LA got full secondary treatment running in 1994 and in November 2017 I asked Julie Finn (State Labour MP) to ask Sydney Water Corporation (use to be Sydney Water Board or SWB) how much sewage Sydney is still pumping straight out to sea (I believe it is about 20% – 25%) without treatment.

          In 1984 I actually ask SWB to start a 100 year plan to pump all sewage over the Blue Mountains to water the Murry Darling Basin. Start small up the top and slowly add to the system each year. The system could have been built to supply more than the electricity it would use, and the H2O is easily cleaned up.

          There are lots of possible choices that Australia has but our current Gov wants the NEG to stop RE in its tracks. Why would anybody agree to a 10 year review of emissions? Some are hell bent on “Coal is the only answer”.

          As for Natural Gas Generation there is about 5 time what we actually need in the system today.

          You need to spend time reading on what can be done (and do not use shock Jocks as educated people to tell you lies about RE. Newspapers are another good source to avoid at all costs. Wikipedia has better information and even this site is better again if you wish to learn.

          • Ben 2 years ago

            Thanks for the tip about Wikipedia, but I’m from the power industry. Coal, biomass, gas, diesel, geothermal, solar thermal and wind, I have worked in design, commissioning, compliance and troubleshooting for all of them.

            What I’ve said is not controversial (it shouldn’t be anyway!).

            There are very real risks posed to the security of the grid (blackouts, load shedding) by high penetration of intermittent non-synchronous generators.

            You said above that there is 5x the amount of gas generation that we need today. Well, including proposed projects there is a total of 15,399 MW of gas generation capacity in the NEM.

            NEM summer demand is around 37,000 MW.

            100,000 MW of wind won’t deliver all 37,000 MW when it is needed.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Roberto, he is just trying to make fools of us all. I’m block g him, and suggest that othere do the same.
            No matter how many times he is presented with the facts, he keeps coming back with the same lies, with no evidence to support his assertions, because there is none. A lot like the RWNJs, really.
            Time to take a hike, Ben.

      • Hettie 2 years ago

        Robert, Jean, I have come to the conclusion that Ben does NOT read a word we write, beyond the first sentence.
        IF he did, he would not be posting the same drivel, almost word for word each time he posts. Besides, he has concealed his Disqus comment history, a sure sign of a dedicated troll.
        Block him. You will save yourselves a lot of time and irritation.

        • RobertO 2 years ago

          Hi Hettie, Thanks and Thanks Jean, I have done the block.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Pleased to hear it.

  14. Hettie 2 years ago

    He promised he wouldn’t lead a party not as committed to climate change as he is,

    HE DOESN’T LEAD IT, does he.

  15. Hettie 2 years ago

    It should be said, however, that NEG is absolutely fit for purpose.
    It’s true purpose, that is, not it’s alleged pupose.
    As a means of featherbedding the fossil fuel generators and crippling the Renewables industry which is killing it’s golden goose, the demand spikes on hot summer afternoons, NEG is ideal.

    For bringing the price of power to the end user down, not so much.

  16. RobertO 2 years ago

    Hi All A useless fact for all.

    Red flag laws were laws in the United Kingdom and the United States enacted in the late 19th century, requiring drivers of early automobiles to take certain safety precautions, including waving a red flag in front of the vehicle as a warning.

    See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_flag_traffic_laws.

    It just goes to show that stupidity is not a new thing

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