Why your rooftop solar is best argument against extending coal

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As federal Coalition votes to support One Nation push for new coal generator, the best argument against it may be installing more rooftop solar. If parliamentary democracy can’t deliver rational outcomes, then maybe energy democracy can.

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The federal Coalition government on Wednesday demonstrated its extraordinary attachment to building new coal-fired power stations when it voted, en masse, to support a motion put forward by One Nation’s Pauline Hanson.

The motion was defeated in The Senate, but it highlighted how the whole government has now fallen in behind the push by the right wing elements for new coal-fired generation, to stop new wind and solar in their tracks, and to effectively abandon the Paris climate targets.

The push for a new coal generator makes no sense at all – on economics, environment, or even engineering grounds. Wind and solar is the cheapest form of new generation, the modern grid requires flexibility and dispatchability, and the climate targets must be met.

But the best argument of all against new coal-fired generators, or even extending existing ones, and one easily made by individual voters, may be the continued rapid uptake of rooftop solar.

Australian households and businesses are installing rooftop solar at record levels – already around 600MW in the first five months of the year, as the rate of penetration soars above 30 per cent in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.

Interest-free loans in Queensland, and possibly South Australia, and other innovative schemes are being introduced to make sure rooftop solar is available to low income households, renters, and apartment dwellers.

This really is power to the people, also known as energy democracy.

The boom in rooftop solar – BNEF sees the rate of installation remaining at more than 1GW for another 10 years – is likely to have a more equitable and reasonable outcome than the democratic process being exercised in Canberra.

In the grid, unlike parliament, every solar module added is a case against the future of coal generation.


This graph above was presented by Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Leonard Quong, at the Large Scale Solar and Storage conference co-hosted by RenewEconomy and Informa in Sydney on Wednesday.

It shows that by 2020, rooftop solar will already be making its presence felt during the middle of the day, as witnessed by the slump of prices into negative territory last week.

By 2040, Quong says, the amount of rooftop solar installed means that “native” grid demand will be eradicated at midday. By 2050, this will be negative most of the time.

This is not an outlying assessment. The Australian Energy Market Operator has suggested this could occur in states like South Australia and Western Australia within 10 years.

It is now generally accepted that “distributed energy” – including rooftop solar, battery storage, and smart technologies like demand management – will make up nearly half the grid by 2050, possibly as early as 2040.

AEMO says the transition to a decentralised grid will be rapid and inevitable. Network owners agree, hence their push to seek to “orchestrate” this resource so it can be managed in a changing grid.

Quong said the impacts of this would no doubt be mitigated by the amount of battery storage and flexible loads and demand management, part of the “behind the meter” assets that AEMO and the networks want to control.

But Quong’s main point was this:

“Looking at the market dynamics of this small scale PV generation, it is increasingly difficult to justify extending the life of a coal asset that relies on midday generation to stay viable.”

He says the negative prices witnessed recently in Queensland in the middle of the day, where there is more than 2GW of rooftop solar and an increasing amount of large-scale solar will become a more “pervasive” feature of the market.

And while large-scale wind and solar will likely be able to deal with this, because their energy costs will be lower and because storage options are emerging, coal will be crippled by its lack of flexibility.

“We expect almost all coal plants will exit the Australian market as they reach  …. end of life considerations,” he said, noting the age of the plant, the cost of maintenance, and fuel supplies.

“If not pushed out, then certainly as they are run into the ground as they begin to become a reliability risk for the networks.”

And what about the case for a new coal-fired generator, as proposed by many Coalition MPs and, astonishingly, voted on by the entire Coalition Senate team on Wednesday when Hanson put up the motion?

The Coalition, and Hanson, and others, are operating under the delusion, spread by the likes of the Business Council of Australia, the Institute of Public Affairs, the Minerals Council, and the Murdoch media, that new coal would be cheaper than wind or solar.

 This is BNEF’s assessment on the costs of new coal versus the cost of wind and solar. Coal is not even in the ball-park.

Even if you add in the cost of storage, renewables still beat coal with just one hour of storage, and by the time more storage is needed, even wind and solar with four hours of storage will beat both coal and gas.

So, carry on installing rooftop solar – and battery storage when you are happy that it makes economic sense. Every little bit is an argument against extending the life of existing generators, and investing in new ones.

If parliamentary democracy can’t deliver rational outcomes, then maybe energy democracy can.

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166 Comments
  1. john 3 months ago

    Here is the economic plan build a huge big coal generator and every day it can pay to load up the grid the government picks up the payment see democracy in action.
    The result for the state getting paid to take the energy is a lowering in wholesale price big win for them.
    Hang on that is negative intervention in the market says the tax payer whose money is wasted.
    But it gives reliable base-load power and delays awful sun not shining wind not blowing unreliable production of power comes the reply.
    Are we going to see this kind of ludicrous deluded reasoning?
    International and Australian LCOE of energy from Lazard.
    https://www.lazard.com/perspective/levelized-cost-of-energy-2017/

    • Thijs 3 months ago

      I can’t really follow your writing, and so I’m not sure if you are sarcastic or not. I’ll reply anyway, the government is not the only one to pick up the payment – the environment does too, which makes it twice as bad.

      • john 3 months ago

        I was extremely sarcastic to put it lightly.
        It is a total bullish proposition to build new coal because the only way it would work is for the Taxpayer to pay for the losses.

        • Gregory J. OLSEN Esq 3 months ago

          That’s right john, and thanx for the clarification. I’m really glad the the current Feral Coalignition Government doesn’t know anything about Modern Monetary Theory or they’d be building new coal fired power plant all over the place! 😛

          • john 3 months ago

            As I see it the Government is an hard place they have the Monash Group that are totally removed from reality and have to deal with others on the bench hard to deal with

          • Gregory J. OLSEN Esq 3 months ago

            And they have a gutless ‘leader’. I wrote a poem about that a couple of days ago:

            UNCLE MAL
            © G. J. Olsen Esq 2018

            Looking back in time, did Uncle Mal do just fine?
            I mean, he once had great ideas to bandy about
            But with twenty/twenty vision, looking back with derision
            We can observe the abandonment of his scruples

            Was it wealth? Was it greed, that brought forth the seed
            Of his desertion of his erstwhile noble goals?
            Becoming PM, with the promise of vim
            And vigor, Australians expected some enlightenment

            Of course he denied it, “I haven’t changed a bit”
            But we began to doubt this day by day
            People saw the hollowness appear, then they began to fear
            That yet another imposter had taken over

            He looked to be a hero but he turned out like Nero
            Placing his own interests before the country he served
            I likeable fellow, sadly, became a vessel, hollow
            Swapping integrity for raw power alone

            ‘Twas like Comedy Capers when he showed us the papers
            Of how the economy was growing so rife
            Working for the hard right to keep his place tight
            At the helm of the flagging, continental ship

            Power, greed and ambition led to his transition
            From a man with climate credentials to admire
            Long ago he was proposing the comprehensive disposing
            Of Australia’s reliance on toxic, fossil fuels. But alas!

            He went down to the Crossroads, good news that didn’t bode
            Like Macbeth, he had it all but wanted more
            He’d been listening too hard to the fossil fools’ bards’
            Earful of promises that he to easily embraced

            Faustian at best, draconian at worst
            Uncle Mal was condemned to fail
            Not only did he lose power, he failed to endow
            Australia a future, fair, free and proud

            Instead we stand here, having sent him off with a cheer
            Contemplating what could have been
            If he’d been a true leader, a real achiever
            Instead of a spineless, visionless runt

          • Hettie 3 months ago

            Don’t give up your day job.

          • john 3 months ago

            Just remembered they may build a total loss Coal Fired Generator and this is not exactly what I pay my tax for.

          • Gregory J. OLSEN Esq 3 months ago

            John, a sovereign government doesn’t need any taxes to build anything. Just don’t tell them that! Shush! 😉

            P.S. Look up Modern Monetary Theory (MMT): https://modernmoney.wordpress.com/

          • john 3 months ago

            Innovation that is the key
            is this Government not the innovation mob?
            So lets build a coal fired generation station.
            I am so impressed we are going forward into the 2020’s with the new 1880’s new innovation technology a new coal fired station.
            Deplorable plus.

          • Barri Mundee 3 months ago

            Good point about MMT Gregory! I have been trying to inform progressives (most of those on this site I assume) that our monetarily sovereign federal government is not constrained in its spending by money (as it creates it) but it IS constrained by ecological and other finite but often abundant resources.

      • Gregory J. OLSEN Esq 3 months ago

        Well, actually, Thijs (and I couldn’t understand what john was writing either), it’s you and me that pick up the payment, through our taxes, to fix the environment, if we can (although I’m beginning to have less hope about that as time and inaction goes on). We pay for these externalities whether we know it or not. The problem is that the average Australian is unaware that externalities even exist that they aren’t included when calculating the true cost of fossil fuels! 🙂

        • john 3 months ago

          Gregory i was be sarcastic.
          It is simple coal will not work ok

      • john 3 months ago

        I see several do not follow my above post.
        The only way a Coal Generator could be built is for the federal government to pay for it.
        This would be economic idiocy and as I pointed out the Fed. Gov. would pick up the bill as in you the tax payer.
        Was this hard to understand ?????

  2. Shilo 3 months ago

    Ok dont jump down my throat, but, the cost of a coal fired power station in queensland could really only be based on say the last two built and even then both were built more than 10 years ago.
    The cost of Kogan Creek and Millmerran, has to be lower than $40 per MWH.
    Thats at least 15 to 20 year old technology. A current plant at either site has to be lower than that again.
    Not what this report says or even close.
    Just putting that out there.
    Also the AF for both of them has to be an average of around 80% with Millmerran the better one.

    • Tom 3 months ago

      Capital costs are higher now, even with mine mouth $40 is very hard.
      $110 is over the top though. BNEF assume high financing costs.

      • Shilo 3 months ago

        How much more would cap coasts be at a established site such as Mill or Kogan though. Would not current tec negate that in any event. (At a established site such as the ones mentioned) ((I understand a geenfields one has to cost quite a bit more))
        A new one has to be as cheap to run even with extra cost to build.
        Well actually maybe not, thinking about it, most new things take 3 years to actually get running, then another 3 to control it and get it consistent, yes ok, a new one has no chance!!!!. Even if it was 50% better.
        hehehe

        • Tom 3 months ago

          🙂
          Brown field would save on connection.
          Refurbish would be cheap.
          New tech is 3% more productive than Kogan… good luck.

          • Shilo 3 months ago

            Hi Tom, I have done a little bit in the field and Kogan is running at around 37% vs the best in the world currently running at 47% , which is around 30% better, however its believed that a current one best in world would be over 40% better than Kogan Creek. Not that it matters it will never be built, but thats the numbers. Not your increase of around 10%.

          • Mike Westerman 3 months ago

            Shilo bear in mind Kogan has air cooled condensers – great in winter, not so good in summer. So altho supercrit it is not likely to approach the heat rate of water cooled plant.

          • Shilo 3 months ago

            Yes as is Mill.
            Good to waste that area to save on a dam, that will just produce more co2.

          • Tom 3 months ago

            Dry cooled mate, knocks a few p.p. off.
            I didn’t realise they were getting up to 47%, can you post me a link?

          • Shilo 3 months ago

            There are quite a few world wide over 47%, japan averages better than our best plants at 41%. (Not that coal is good, I am just saying)
            http://www.powermag.com/who-has-the-worlds-most-efficient-coal-power-plant-fleet/

          • Mike Westerman 3 months ago

            I think you’ll find all the high efficiency plants are water cooled, and in Japan seawater cooled (and that is cold!). I would think the 41% figure for Kogan was best efficiency when new and in cool conditions. I’d be surprised if the condensers were sized to hold that at 45deg.

          • Shilo 3 months ago

            Kogan and Mill, were not advanced plants for their time, they were simply bankable back then (Today even a plant with 100% efficiency would not be bankable in Australia nor most the world, its not a option for power, we are past that point)

        • john 3 months ago

          It takes 4 to 5 years to build.
          Costs several Billions.
          Is totally not economic as it cost more to produce power more than the market is paying.
          Unless you pay the Stupid Idea to build a Coal Generation facility and pay to produce the power it is idiotic any questions???
          Link to a very conservative cost estimate of energy.
          Note they treat Gas very well an even then it comes out badly for Australia.
          https://www.lazard.com/perspective/levelized-cost-of-energy-2017/
          Look at the costs please mate.

      • PLDD 3 months ago

        Tom – those Bloomberg figures are US$ so the low point for coal is closer to AU$140.

        Do you know what the financing rate is in their model…? You could justify a high rate because of the risk of a new build becoming a stranded asset with any lender extracting a pretty hefty risk premium in their loan rates.

        • Tom 3 months ago

          I saw a presentation; they were assuming 12% interest. Risk was what they said too.
          If coal got a govt. contract for 30 years it’s a different story.

    • MikeH 3 months ago

      AGL, EnergyAustralia, Pacific Hydro, CS Energy (owner of Kogan Creek) are just a few of the energy generation companies who have pointed out that new coal generation plants no longer make economic sense in Australia. Not only are they more expensive to build, the current Newcastle thermal coal price which is currently over $150 per tonne would equate to a fuel cost of more than $60 per MWh. New coal plants would not have access to the guaranteed cheap coal that was part of the privatisation deals.

      Not only is new utility RE cheaper than new coal, the current rooftop solar boom along with wind and solar is eating coal’s lunch as the article explains. A new baseload plant becomes less viable every day.

      Time for the coal tragics (who are usually also climate cranks) to concede that they are flogging a dead horse.

      • Shilo 3 months ago

        Mike, coal for the power plants I am talking about do not cost anywhere near that amount. They dig out the grade they want and direct feed it, no washing. Yes high ash, but they sell that to cement makers.

        • Peter F 3 months ago

          Shilo you are partly right, some of the coal can probably be bought for $40-50/tonne because the ash content is so high it can’t be exported, but it is only about 18 GJ/ kg so that means that you need more coal. So they are still facing $20-40/MWh for fuel $20 for O&M so short run marginal cost of $40-60/MWh. Once the solar plant is commissioned its short run marginal cost is $10 including maintenance. Solar will basically sell all its power, wind most of its and coal and gas get the rest, whatever the residual is.
          There are a few exceptions to that statement but it will be true 90% of the time

          At noon or a breezy afternoon, or windy night if prices fall below $30 for a few hours then what does the coal plant do. It can’t just ramp down to zero and then up again for the peak, it has to keep generating, forcing more power into an oversupplied market and losing money. In the past that could be offset by making big money during peaks, but low speed wind turbines and tracking solar are both eating into peak demand reducing both the duration and height of the peak. Peak demand on the NEM has fallen from 35.5 GW to 32.4GW

          For a coal plant there are usually only three solutions: install storage, close one or more units down for 3-6 months of the year or close. Maintenance costs actually rise, personnel costs don’t change much so a vicious circle ensues, the annual sales fall and even though less fuel is used all other costs rise, so once the plant gets down to around 40% CF, it is very lucky to cover annual operating costs so they close.
          Installing or contracting storage, entering into demand response contracts with customers or capacity market payments (there aren’t any of these in Australia) can increase yield and hold up prices during the day but in the end you still have to cover $40-60/MWh for every MWh you generate + any interest and depreciation on the storage. Storage can work very well at the margin, a number of British, American and German plants are installing storage to:
          Smooth operation lowering maintenance costs,
          Increase peak sales
          Hold up prices during supply peaks by withdrawing power from the market.
          However once the storage becomes significant, coal is competing with excess wind, solar and even hydro to recharge it, some of the time the other sources will win, so the plant is turned on less and less often and the owner makes his money from the batteries with their free grid connection
          New coal plants cost about US$1.2-1.5m per MW in place like Vietnam, but that does not including planning and permitting grid connections, rail connections, often does not include civil works waste ash ponds etc. That typically adds another 15-30% to the cost. Then you add the premium for Australian costs vs Vietnam another 15%
          The other biggy is construction finance. Over the 5-7 years from contract signing and deposit being paid on average about 40% of the cost of the project is outstanding and has to be financed. Construction finance is expensive because it is risky so that adds roughly 5 x 40% x 8% =16-20% to the cost of the project so the US$1.2m becomes A$1.2*1.2*1.15*1.16/.75 = A$2.7-3.2bn.
          Now if the one GW plant exceeds the duty cycle of 80% of coal plants in the world and makes 70% lifetime capacity factor and the owner wants to pay it off in 30 years with a interest of 6% and return on capital at 11% borrowing 70% of the money it has a weighted average cost of capital of 7.5% or a financing charge of $46/MWh. So absolute best case is to sell power for $86/MWh.
          On the other hand if the coal plant is delayed a couple of years. (the last one being built in Germany is seven years late) can’t be fed absolute rubbish and has to burn medium grade coal which is currently selling for $90/tonne and only matches the current US fleet average of 53% CF then the breakeven price is $121/MWh.
          This is before any future carbon price or emissions standards, environmental fights in the courts etc etc etc. Would you risk your superannuation

          • Shilo 3 months ago

            The coal plants I mentioned don’t buy any coal, they own the coal and are built next to the deposit of coal.

          • GlennM 3 months ago

            So You are saying that the coal magically jumps out of the ground and walks itself into the furnace with no effort or cost by the power company…I would love to see a video of that

          • Shilo 3 months ago

            Heheheheheh. No I am saying there is no sale. Its a mining operation, supplying them selves coal.

          • GlennM 3 months ago

            The problem is that the maths on this has been done again and again…even if you only pay the cost of digging it out of the ground…..shift it a few meters and burn it and pay for maintenance on all the equipment, pay your miners/powerstation workers….IT is STILL more expensive than solar and wind.

            Don’t believe me…. believe the power companies who own the power stations they are there to make money if they could do that with their existing coalers they would…but they know that solar and wind will make them more money thats why 270 plants are closing in the US and all the Aussie ones will follow

          • Shilo 3 months ago

            I was not, not saying what you are saying. I was simply saying the last two plants built in Australia and i named them, are much less costly than what this information states. I guess around $40 per MWH or less. Thats everything cost.

          • Peter F 3 months ago

            Shilo. It is not quite everything cost because the plants have earnt a lot more than $40 and so have paid off the capital. Their medium term operating cost i.e. labour coal and annual maintenance is probably $40 or thereabouts if it works at 60-70% CF . It does not cover sufficient depreciation to replace the plant when it is worn out. When renewables bid in @ $30 they know they will get the highest price in the stack not $30, but they sell everything they can produce. So as more renewables are in the market, the coal and gas plants lose more and more of its load.
            About the only cost the generators with captive coal mines save is the diesel used to run the bulldozers in the mines, everything else is more or less the same, some maintenance costs will fall others will rise, so by the time the CF falls to 40% the average variable cost rises to $60-70 and a vicious circle ensues and the coal plant goes broke even though in theory there is still a market for its energy

          • Shilo 3 months ago

            Peter it’s only been since the drought in 2007/2008 that the price of power went up a fair amount, then the carbon price pushed it up, and now the transition to re has been pushing it up.
            There were many consecutive years when the pool price was $30.

          • Peter F 3 months ago

            That is roughly true but there were basically four causes of power price rises,
            a) Over-investment in poles and wires,
            b) increased retail margins,
            c) increased fuel prices (gas from $2-3 to $7-12, export coal from A$60 to $150 and
            d) green schemes.
            The affects were roughly in that order of importance and it has got to the stage now that without any subsidies, well positioned rooftop solar is cheaper than transmission, distribution and retail costs so anyone with a suitable roof will eventually install solar.
            Initially the transition to renewables did push prices up maybe 5-6% according to the ACCC but now that wind and solar have crashed by roughly 1/2 for wind in 4 years and 2/3rds for solar in 3 years and subsidies have steadily declined or been eliminated wind and solar are now actually contributing to the fall in wholesale prices

          • Shilo 3 months ago

            Most power stations coal fired have long term contracts for coal and do not pay on the prices you have stated.
            When I say transition to RE, I mean that power stations are older and there is a lag to get the new prices to flow through.
            My position is not that RE energy is not cheaper.

          • Hettie 3 months ago

            That would have to NE one of the silliest comments I have read on these pages.
            1. The many years when pool prices were $30 were before this essential service was privatised.
            2. The drought of 2007-8 had about as much impact on power prices as the fact that I went to NZ for a family reunion.
            3. Households and trade exposed businesses were overcompensate for the impact of the carbon price.
            4. The way that Renewable energy has been exerting *downward* pressure on power prices has been explained on these pages many times.

            Now, do you have anything sensible to say, or is your intention only to waste everyone’s time?

          • Shilo 3 months ago

            I am sorry but look at the prices your self, and yes RE energy has started to drop them but they are still up around $85, a long way from $30. The 2007/2008 drought put prices up to around 50/60.

          • Hettie 3 months ago

            Where?
            By drought do you mean GFC?

          • Shilo 3 months ago

            Eastern Australia had a drought almost all power stations had to wind down due to thier water use the price of power went up.

          • Hettie 3 months ago

            Ok. Was not paying attention to power prices at that time. Other events in my life.

          • Shilo 3 months ago

            Thankyou Hettie, I am not trying to sound or be silly, I hope you may not jump on me again.

          • Mike Westerman 3 months ago

            Shilo I think you’ll find the drought was a one off impact, constraining hydro and also reducing output on water cooled coal plants. Note that solar and wind would not have been impacted, so would have kept the prices down.

          • Shilo 3 months ago

            I fully agree.
            I was not going forward in time.

          • Shilo 3 months ago

            I am only making a comment on the last two power stations built in Australia and how much they cost to run, nothing more. Well I did speculate at what a current version of them would do at the same location, but have clearly said it will not happen. Just saying the last two are much lower cost than what is being said. They were built more than 10 years ago. That’s it.

          • Ertimus J Waffle 3 months ago

            You have no idea what you are talking about. The only thing that makes renewables viable are the government subsides. If they were taken away you wouldn’t see any more wind generators or solar panels. When all this madness is over and people see what a hoax unreliable and costly renewable power is they will be building HELE plants everywhere as they are in the rest of the world.

          • Mike Westerman 3 months ago

            The exciting thing is how wrong idiots like yourself are. The world has passed you by and left you sadly in your irrelevant corner making those cute squeaking noises you think is speech.

          • Ertimus J Waffle 3 months ago

            Yes the Maths has been done. When Australia had 100% coal fired power generation we had the cheapest and the most reliable electricity in the world but since the renewable nutters have taken over Australia is on the verge of not having any power at all and even if you can get it it’s the most expensive in the world.

          • Peter F 3 months ago

            That is true but they still have to mine it although Kogan Creek has many years of mine life left as does Loy yang, others are already buying coal. Although none of them publish their mining costs Whitehaven coals average cost of production is $50/tonne. The captive mines will be in the same balpark

          • Shilo 3 months ago

            Peter, the coal for Kogan and Mill are virtually direct feed. The cost to dig it out crush and get it to the stockpile and feed into the plant. There is no wash plant.
            Less than $30, all up.
            The deposits are also close to the surface so low overburden. I believe Kogans May be the cheaper coal as some of that deposit “wondoan” is very close to the surface.

          • Peter F 3 months ago

            Shilo I won’t argue with those numbers but Kogan Creek would cost about $2 bn to replicate so you still have to add $46 to your $30 to repay the capital. In addition, Kogan Creek is already sometimes grid constrained so there could be $300-1,000 m in grid investments to get it properly connected to the grid, because to sell more power it will have to export it deep into NSW. Queensland is already oversupplied and has CF adjusted renewables coming over the next few years equal to 4-5 Kogan Creeks

          • Peter Campbell 3 months ago

            “Would you risk your superannuation?” Many do. Get your money out of super funds that finance fossil fuels now while you can. https://www.marketforces.org.au/campaigns/super-campaign/

          • Hettie 3 months ago

            Many industry funds have divested from FF, and are giving better returns than the FF funds.
            It’s like every other market.
            Do your homework and shop around.

    • DevMac 3 months ago

      How much is their profitability affected by their limited ability (compared to gas for example) to scale their output up and down based on grid draw fluctuations?

      Having to remain running during negative electricity prices isn’t ideal for a “modern” facility.

      • Shilo 3 months ago

        I am only talking about the cost in this piece and saying two current power stations in Queensland, and the last two built in Australia more than 10 years ago, have costs less than $40, which is way less than the author of this is saying coal can produce power for. Thats it.

        • DevMac 3 months ago

          The graphs are by Bloomberg New Energy Finance and are regarding new coal, not existing coal. The article seems to revolve around the Pauline-centric vote for a new coal-fired power station in Queensland, which is why it’s comparing prices for “new” generation.

          It’s using LCOE, explained here:
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source

          Even if BNEF modelling is on the high side, it’s still a pretty stark difference.

          Regarding your point, yes, the current coal generators are doing it much cheaper than a new plant would when you take into account the build cost of the new plant.

          • Hettie 3 months ago

            Development, that Wikipedia article is quoting 2012 prices. Absolutely irrelevant now. Even the relativity especially have changed. Solar is now appreciably cheaper than wind which is cheaper than coal which is cheaper than gas.

        • CU 3 months ago

          So why is no-one with a wallet to finnce it planning any new coal plant?

          • Shilo 3 months ago

            I believe that is a long story. But mainly because to be able to actually build one, the states have to allow it. Coal plants were only allowed to be built one at a time, it was never a open market, for any body to build one and try to delver cheap power, the states controlled the amount of power station built and who could build them, with most of them governemnet owned

          • Mike Westerman 3 months ago

            Actually Shilo I think we have discussed this question before, where I pointed out the difference between outcomes and causes. In a previous era, only the state was allowed to participate in the generation and distribution of electricity, with captive stations being the except. But that has not been the case for many years, and even government owned generators now need to borrow on commercial terms. There is now no state intervention preventing an independent power producer from developing a coal fired power station, merely the lack of a viable business case. No-one could replicate the arrangements at Millmerran or Kogan without subsidies because shareholders of coal mines are not going to sell coal at less than they can export it for.

          • Shilo 3 months ago

            Mike there are a number of further reasons, but just dealing with your view on the coal. It is only true for deposits that can be exported or have a chance of export, and even then, all of it cannot be exported, so the price they can get for coal outside of australia is not any bearing on in australia.
            Groups will sell coal deposits or parts of deposits.
            Millmerran and kogan also have ample amounts of coal to be able to expand.
            As for anyone being able to apply for a baseload power project, I believe you are correct maybe in the last few years its been opened up. but prior to that no one could even apply.
            Currently no one will build one or expand one, because there is too much change.
            RE are the only option and some gas plants, and maybe a syngas plant from coal if anyone wanted to really try to chuck a heap of money at a huge risk.

          • Peter F 3 months ago

            Shilo Wind and solar contracts are being signed around the world for A$30 per MWh. In Australia wind and solar are largely complimentary so if we install approximately 35 GW of each that will replace all the gas and coal power we produce. There are 4-5 coal plants in Australia which use un-exportable coal that can compete in the short at $40-50.
            As it turns out current peak NEM demand is 32 GW and minimum output from 35 GW of wind on a hot evening will be 4-5 GW. Existing hydro is 8.6 GW rated and it appears that could be upgraded to perhaps 10-11 GW so we could count on perhaps 7 GW from hydro so even after the sun goes down we might need 20 GW of backup if demand does not change.
            However energy efficiency, behind the meter generation, flexible demand are all forcing peak demand down, not every year but trending at about 1.5% per year so we can forecast that by 2030 peak demand will be only 27 GW so backup demand will fall to 15-16 GW.
            But if 30% of customers put in a 5 kW battery and allow the grid to draw 2 kW that is 7 GW + all the batteries being installed at wind and solar farms so if wee keep a bit over half the existing gas capacity and build 6 to 10 Kidston size pumped hydro systems you are home

          • Shilo 3 months ago

            In fact lower Peter, I was not saying anything about how cheap they were.
            Hey as for power consumption do you think maybe you have missed that the world is going to go the EV, cars, buses, and trucks, and so the demand will in fact go up a bit for electricity?.

          • CU 3 months ago

            You have to apply to be denied, Who has applied?

          • Shilo 3 months ago

            It has only recently changed, that a application maybe looked at.
            I don’t think many will be put forward, for new or even brownfield expansion. RE is the only option going forward

      • Shilo 3 months ago

        I believe Hedgeing helps currently, going forward, coal cannot operate vs renewables, they both operate differently.

    • Hettie 3 months ago

      And in the meantime the cost of concrete keeps going up, and the CO2 released in its manufacture is not going down, and and and it’s a totally fuckwitted idea to build new coal.
      The Het has spoken.

      • Shilo 3 months ago

        I am only commenting that the last two coal plants built in Australia, which are in queensland and were built more than 10 years ago, dont have costs anything like what is written here. Nothing more.
        But as for concrete yes the costs are going up and the release of CO2 to make concrete is massive.

  3. Ray Miller 3 months ago

    The argument is not only about generation but the service efficiency of the load.

    As has been proven many times investing in the more efficient technologies (if necessary by regulation) delivering more service for less kWh’s dramatically shifts the whole playing field.

    With more efficient energy conversions for the same service we end up having our cake and eating it as well. Then with local PV and energy storage become even more cost effective, adding more value to the customer for limited capital expenditure.

    My <2kW PV system has over the last 10 years had made sure my household is energy positive every day, save the occasional very rainy day, covers approx. 97-99% instantaneous grid load from 7am – 4pm. Add a modest 3kWh energy storage it is then possible to further extend the "off grid" period well into the evening.

    It could well prove the wisest investment for our communities to encourage more efficiency then adding generation and transmission. But then none of the NEM business will earn a cent..but this is the point!

    • Shilo 3 months ago

      Yes I 1000% agree, I was just commenting on the cost in this piece

    • Rod 3 months ago

      And I thought I was, ahem, frugal.
      My 2.5KW is positive for most of the year but Winter is a challenge. SWMBO wants the heatpump on 22C and the solar hot water needs boosting.

      • Ray Miller 3 months ago

        Being in South East QLD helps a lot, about average of 5 sun hours /day.

        • Farside15 3 months ago

          when I lived in SE Qld (Amberley) winter temps were often sub zero. Do you do anything beyond passive for heating and cooling?

          • Ray Miller 3 months ago

            I’m a 10km from the coast so a bit more moderate than Amberley, but still the other morning with a frost internal temp was 15 briefly before 20 in 4 hours.

        • Greg Hudson 3 months ago

          According to the BoM you should be getting 7 hours a day… See:
          http://www.bom.gov.au/watl/sunshine/

      • Greg Hudson 3 months ago

        Update SWMBO TO SHSBOBNI :
        She Who Should Be Obeyed But Never Is
        😉

    • Farside15 3 months ago

      adding even modest energy storage is the elephant in the room; solar is fine when sun is out but when will battery storage or alternative makes economic sense for residential purposes?

      • Peter F 3 months ago

        If you have money in the bank at 2% and you use most of your power after sunset batteries actually makes sense now if power prices are over about 30c. This does not include any value you place on energy independence, or grid backup.
        For a wind or solar farm that is facing either curtailment due to grid congestion or periods of very low price, taking power out of the market at peak supply might force minimum prices up 5-10% and enables them to capture more sales at high peak prices so once daily price swings reach about $80 storage of 20% of peak output for a couple of hours will increase daily revenue by roughly 30%. Adding 100 MW/200 MWh to Stockyard Creek would increase the investment by about 15% and have a very minor effect on operating costs.
        So once the $70-80 swing is a regular daily occurrence, storage at wind and solar farms becomes inevitable

        • Craig Allen 3 months ago

          Also if you are a pensioner then money in the bank reduces your pension. So work out whether you can increase your pension by spending some of your savings to reduce your energy expenses with solar, a battery etc.

          • Hettie 3 months ago

            Even with no money in the bank solar should reduce your outgoings. Power bill plus loan repayments can be lower than previous power bill.

        • hydrophilia 3 months ago

          As much as I detest the idea, it seems that battery storage would be similarly beneficial to coal and nukes.

          • Brian Tehan 3 months ago

            As many reneweconomy articles have pointed out coal and, even more so, nuclear, are more expensive than renewables without taking into account emissions. Of course, we know that we have to stop burning fossil fuels to stop runaway climate change. End of story.

          • Peter F 3 months ago

            They will but they will be supplied by the most efficient plants with the lowest marginal cost of production such as CC gas plants instead of OC and or Kogan Creek instead of Liddell. In that way they will still reduce pollution. But even then Kogan Creek and Pelican point will be still be competing sometimes with wind and solar so average emissions will still fall significantly even if half the storage recharge is from Fossil Fuels

      • Ray Miller 3 months ago

        I started this journey some 25 odd years ago, by adding insulation to my electric storage hot water systems to reduce the heat leaking out. My efforts have paid off gradually, purchasing the more efficient appliance when the old one expired. My latest appliance 2nd washing mashing is 5 star energy and water, 50 litres per wash. Dyson Vacuum 200Wh/month. LED lighting 2.1kWh/month. 65cm LCD TV 60W. Next project to replace the 300VA range hood fan with 28W Brushless DC.

        Gradually moved to solar thermal closed coupled (my preferred as it is so simple).
        Then designed and built a 9 star house in South East QLD with efficiency in mind, including pumping all our tank water.

        So then the 1.7kW peak PV 2kVA inverter Grid system + 400W PV East west tracking PV charging 24V 3 kWh LifePO4 battery for the emergency backup. This also runs all my communications, Fiber to the home, Modem, water pumping, 24V digital auto amplifier (3W stby EF 85% 50+50W out) speakers 90db/W, garage door opener (load 0.6kWh/day). Plus my mains 500VA inverter (Australian designed) which starts my fridge which draws 11A for 6 cycles and 100A from the batteries.

        Economic sense? Well as I installed early with my modest PV system and am so efficient I get a credit on my energy bills which is reinvested in more efficiency, and so the cycle goes. So when the grid goes down I do have lights and fridge, can open my garage door, pump my water etc. I’d say Economic sense, yes for me.

        But if I had an inefficient clunker (like the current NEM), with flat tires, leaking radiator and fuel tank, that’s a different economic equation.

        • Farside15 3 months ago

          impressive.

        • CU 3 months ago

          3W stby – you should pull out the cord!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Ray Miller 3 months ago

            What I mean; yes it is totally switched off when not in use, stby or is what I in this case is on but low level audio for many hours of the day. It replaced a JVC amp with a 200W on with low level audio.

            Yes moved to class D amplifier, most of any distortion is in the speaks I’m using a pair of VAF DC speakers (SA company) many years old 15 maybe now but the sound is so natural and extremely energy efficient.

        • Peter Campbell 3 months ago

          Congratulations. 90db/W is not especially efficient for speakers but not too bad. As with legal advice, there is a 3-way trade off. For advice you can have “good, cheap and quick, pick any two”. In speakers you can have efficient, small and deep bass, pick any two. My 1969 vintage Tannoys are efficient (95db/W, so can go very loud with a 10W amp), go well into the bottom octave but the boxes are huge.
          Next, I think you need a plug in vehicle.

          • Rod 3 months ago

            I don’t think I’ve ever seen (noticed) the db/W spec when looking at speakers.
            My music is one area I turn a blind eye to power use but I understand my class D amp is a lot more efficient than the class A it replaced.
            My four main speakers are all 4 Ohm impedence so hopefully fairly efficient.

          • Peter Campbell 3 months ago

            Speaker efficiency is one of the most overlooked specs. People focus on amplifier power their 100W amp but don’t realise that it has only 3db more output than a 50W amp, which in turn is only 3db more than a 25W amp. My DIY home-built amps are only 10W/channel but with 95db/W speakers they can go as loud as I would ever want. Plenty of typical speakers are around 86db/W, so my combination can go as loud as a 100W + 86db/W combination.
            Low power class A amps with efficient speakers are my preferred approach. A class A amp is inefficient of necessity of its design. My 10W amp is class A (and valves) but doesn’t chew all that much power because it doesn’t need to with efficient speakers.
            I have not been a serious hifi nerd for quite a while so I don’t know much about modern class D amps except that several decades ago they were not regarded highly but I think some are now regarded as decent.
            Whether the speaker impedance is 4 or 8 ohms doesn’t tell you anything about their efficiency.

          • Hettie 3 months ago

            Don’t forget that dB is a logarhythmic scale, while amps is linear.

          • Peter Campbell 3 months ago

            Exactly. log vs. linear scales. If I said this amp is only 3db more than that amp you might not be as impressed as if I said 100W vs. 50W, which is why amplifier advertising makes a great deal out of its linear power rating and speaker advertisers failed to get much traction pointing out higher efficiency in db/W and have largely given up.

          • Rod 3 months ago

            I managed to discover my sides, Krix Lyrix, are 92db/W but can’t find similar for my mains. Krix Neuphonix. I did find this though:

            Sensitivity 88dB (2.83V / 1m)

            The amps I can compare are a class A Denon and class D Yamaha, both home theatre so not really hifi nerd stuff. I would say the Denon was slightly warmer sounding and much warmer running than the Yamaha.

            Although at full tilt I can imagine the 5.1 system using a lot of power, it never gets near that unless it is my DSOTM SACD 😉

          • Peter Campbell 3 months ago

            Sensitivity and efficiency are slightly different but related things. They are the same if the speakers are rated for an 8 ohm impedance.
            A true class A amp will consume virtually the same amount of power whether it is playing loud or quiet. By definition, the output devices of a class A amp are biased (turned on and conducting) to the middle, most linear part of their operating range. That means they will have the least distortion at low output levels. They only start to distort at full output power. They avoid ‘zero crossing’ or ‘cross-over’ distortion, which occurs when other designs hand over from one device turning off from doing the bottom half of a waveform to another turning on to do the top half of a waveforms.
            The vast majority of audio amps are ‘class AB’ designs, a compromise design that has paired output devices biased just enough to greatly reduce cross-over distortion by biasing the devices just to the start of their linear range without too much penalty in lost efficiency and heat.

          • Ray Miller 3 months ago

            VAF DC X model speakers, one of the early units 1996. I’ve just corrected the sensitivity which is 94db/watt. So the DC -X units are 22 years old, I assembled the kits and just as good now as 22 years ago, a real good investment. I keep looking and listening to the new speakers in sales areas most speakers are significantly inferior to what I have. https://vaf.com.au/collections/dc-series-speakers/products/dc-x63
            The Tannoys as you say have been around for a long time and will still hold their own I would expect.

            So the point is combining very efficient equipment ends up delivering a significant outcome compared to using the most inefficient components.

          • Peter Campbell 3 months ago

            I have heard VAF speakers (similar looking to yours) once or twice at friends’ houses and thought they sounded very good and in kit form they were a good deal. A point that is often overlooked is that an efficient speaker will have a less variable voice coil temperature because it doesn’t need to dissipate as much heat and, all else being equal, sound better as a result.
            A well-designed speaker decades old will still run rings around most of the rubbish that gets sold.

        • solarguy 3 months ago

          Well done Ray!

        • Rod 3 months ago

          I expect most people have no idea how much their rangehood uses but I was surprised to see mine about 200W. Add in the 2 x incandescent bulbs and it soon adds up.

      • Hettie 3 months ago

        That will depend on prices of batteries, prices of power, and FiTs. All change on Sunday. AND the ratio of price/kWh : FiT is not improving. So batteries look a little better.

        • solarguy 3 months ago

          It will be interesting see which retailers follow the IPART recommendations to the hilt. Re: FIT

          • Hettie 3 months ago

            Even Powershop is reducing the FIT to 10.2 c from 12.8. Better than EPART suggested max.
            Price also down by a couple of cents, but I can’t find the email with details. Daily charge also down a cent or 2.
            Overall deal not as good.

          • solarguy 3 months ago

            Well if the SAC is also down 2 c that helps a bit. Don’t suppose you know if the killer wasp hour charge has reduced as well?

            I can live with 10.2 c FIT, better than a kick in the tits, but I’ll just have to wait for the good news from Energy Oz.

          • Hettie 3 months ago

            Have not heard of any grid op except Ausgrid lowering daily charge.

            It occurs to me that we should all share info about prices and fit, then call our retailers and ask for the best price. People power.

          • Hettie 3 months ago

            Ok.
            These rates are for online prepurchase, and include the 18% discount.
            All day usage 24.94w
            Was 26.21

            Supply charge 143. 60
            Was 139.99
            Well that sucks. The figures they sent did not include GST. Did not pick that up until I looked at the old rates.

            Fit new rate 10.2 or 11.22
            Was 12.8
            Unclear if fit includes GST or not .hope not!

          • solarguy 3 months ago

            Ok, initially you said the daily charge was down, but above you state it’s now 143.60 ?

          • Hettie 3 months ago

            Yes. Because of the GST. They have always included it in the past, and I did not look at the old rates, because I know them. But when I looked at it in the laptop, instead of the phone, the bigger print, it was obviously not the numbers I knew, so added 10%, and there it was. Adding 10% to the new rates gave the new daily charge as $1.436. 3.7 cents more. Which is annoying, because Ausgrid said they were going to drop the price. At least it’s only 3.7 c a day more.

          • solarguy 3 months ago

            If Ausgrid has actually reduced it then the retailer should pass that saving on. Morally obliged to really.
            Did Ausgrid say this in writing?

          • Hettie 3 months ago

            No. I read it here.
            But now my phone app has the new rates listed.
            Different again from the email advice! So they had better be right! Inc GST.
            All day pre purchase on line 23.95c/kWh
            Supply $1.3786.
            So it has gone down a little.
            I must confess I have paid little attention to the
            Old rates paid by those who don’t prepurchase, and wait for a quarterly bill.
            For info:-
            27.21
            $1.5666
            The old 18% discount is now 12%.

          • Scottman 3 months ago

            Hi Hettie, here’s mine to start the ball rolling.
            Enova emailed me the other day – going to continue 16c fit (YAY). Great mob. My import/export ratio affords me a credit ~ $100/q.

          • Hettie 3 months ago

            Lucky you.
            What state,Scotty? And the price you buy in, and the daily suply charge?if enough respond, I’ll write up a report by state, and post it in these pages.

          • Scottman 3 months ago

            Hi Hettie, At the moment only Essential Energy area in NSW, inc GST – supply $156.20/day, usage $0.319/kWh, get this, smart meter charge $0.25/day, glad I fought hard not to have smart meter. As stated works for my import/export values (1.7/18 kWh/day). Cheers

          • Joe 3 months ago

            I’m with Energy Australia as well and I haven’t heard anything directly from them about new FiT’s or new energy raiffs to take effect from 1/7/2018. I read in the paper recently that Catherine Tanna ( boss at Energy Aust. ) said that NSW pricing would be ‘flat’ ( whatever that means and delivers ) compared with past years pricing increase ripoffs. AGL, Origin have made pricing announcements but no one has officially said what the FiT’s will be. I ca’t see them not reducing the FiT’s but howlow will they go?

          • rob 3 months ago

            I to am with Energy Australia here in S.A. No changes to pricing here…I rang them last week.

          • Joe 3 months ago

            Hi Rob, thanks for that. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that Energy Aust. ‘looks after me’ here in Sydney.

          • Greg Hudson 3 months ago

            Vic FIT was supposed to be going up to 29c on 1 July… I can’t find any evidence of this happening yet…

          • Greg Hudson 3 months ago

            When you say Energy Australia, what you really mean is Energy Singapore, as it is foreign owned. IMO non Aussie owned companies should be prevented from pulling the wool over consumers eyes with naming conventions… 🙁

          • Joe 3 months ago

            Hi Greg, yes I am aware that EA is foreign = Singapore owned. It wasn’t always like that. Sadly its the way Australia has gone where everything is for sale and foreigners have the cash to splash and so bag the deals. A bit off topic but illustrates perfectly, The Port of Darwin was sold off to the Chinese.

    • Ertimus J Waffle 3 months ago

      So you don’t need any power after the sun goes down. If all the experts here knew anything about the grid and generation they would know you cannot have a chopped wave form base load power supply. It’s all good when the coal fired steam driven generators are pumping thousands of MW into the system but take them away and see what happens with your electronically controlled inverter chopped wave form of generation. The word harmonics is never mentioned here by the home armchair experts with their solar panels. I would love one of you to explain what would happen with purely solar, wind or battery generation where the sinusoidal wave of the AC power is manufactured by electronics and not magnets.

      • Shilo 3 months ago

        I am thinking there is a lot to learn for everyone going forward.
        It is going to get very interesting.

      • Ren Stimpy 3 months ago

        Pumped Hydro.

      • solarguy 3 months ago

        Ok smart arse, how about you tell us what would happen if the magnets where taken away, love to hear that bullshit!
        BTW, Ray has told you that he has a battery for after dark. Is there anything about that, that you don’t understand.

    • Mike Westerman 3 months ago

      Ah the Waffler is branching out in his demonstration of ignorance, babbling about waveforms as though the 100s of millions of switched power supplies and variable speed drives just didn’t exist, and harmonics were a newly discovered and particularly nasty lifeform! He probably hasn’t been able to understand the idiot’s guide to generator standards either to work out the limits on harmonics and flicker, nor is aware of the number of salient pole generators that don’t in fact produce nice clean waveforms…

  4. DevMac 3 months ago

    I’m not condoning this behaviour, because it’s ultimately dishonest, but was the Parliamentary vote just a sop to Pauline and they knew it would get voted down in the Senate anywhere, so no-harm-no-foul?

    This IS politics…in all its absurdly human unglory.

    • Nick Kemp 3 months ago

      It does send a strong message about what side they are on.

      take a look at me yesterdays hero

      la la la

  5. Rod 3 months ago

    “coal will be crippled by its lack of flexibility”
    That can’t be right. Joshie told me coal is “dispatch-able”.

    • Joe 3 months ago

      …and the Joshua adds coal is baseload and reliable and cheap…but doesn’t add except when coalers are tripping out ( the 59 times reported in the these pages of Renew Economy ) or down for extended periods of maintenance and only cheap because of ‘market failure’ to properly price Coal for its environment and public health costs.

    • Marcus Whitley 3 months ago

      It supplys energy all the time, except whena generator trips and we lose 1GW of power and some stupid battery in South Australia has to turn on to stop the grid from shutting down.

      100 % reliable…

      • Hettie 3 months ago

        NOT

  6. wmh 3 months ago

    A reduction in coal-fired power means a reduction coal mining and a reduction in Black Lung disease and, as seen on SBS television recently, a reduction in potential sink holes under people’s houses caused by the collapse of old mine workings.

    • MaxG 3 months ago

      Who cares about Black Lung; the government department supposedly looking after these poor miners whacked the reports into broom cabinets and shipping containers left to rot. Why Qld has reported not one death to black lung in 25 years.

      • Hettie 3 months ago

        The people affected and their families would care quite a lot. But the official neglect and denial has been appalling.

        • MaxG 3 months ago

          I should probably fine-tune my sarcasm; I care too; followed the parliamentary enquiry in Qld, and read the resulting report… and fully agree: appalling!
          My “who cares” notion is highlighting the ‘collateral damage’ mantra of government and industry.

          • Hettie 3 months ago

            Ok. Sarcasm icon sorely needed.

          • Hettie 3 months ago

            I see you have edited the original.

          • MaxG 3 months ago

            Yes, wouldn’t want to be misunderstood 🙂

          • Joe 3 months ago

            Never let health and safety get in the way of Mining companies gouging the Earth and crippling workers health in the process, all in the name of the almighty $. Government oversight and laws are meant to protect workers but it has been shown to be useless with The Black Lung revelations. Union’s power has been greatly reduced and they were the enforcers of worker safety. Labor hire companies are used to further weaken the power of the worker. When the ‘watchers’ are made powerless and sidelined why is anyone surprised that something like The Black Lung scandal arises. There is always another ‘miner’ that can be found to replace a miner who can no longer perform the task.

    • Hettie 3 months ago

      Indeed. All sorts of nasties associated with the extraction and use of coal.

    • Ian 3 months ago

      A few years ago, I visited a house in southern areas of Newcastle, where the neighbours house had to be built with lightweight construction (as a condition by Council), because if it were brick like all the other houses there, it risked collapsing the ground below.

      • Calamity_Jean 2 months ago

        Why would anyone want to live there? I’d be constantly afraid that my house would fall into the mine.

  7. solarguy 3 months ago

    Is it just me, but do we now have the uterus curve.

    • Scottman 3 months ago

      In 2050 it will be the uterus-fallopian curve. Mere men wont matter any more.

      • hydrophilia 3 months ago

        Meremen are a myth: mermaids reproduce by parthenogenesis!

    • Ian 3 months ago

      Those are not graphs, they are cartoons of graphs, just to illustrate a point . The uterine tubes of your graph should actually point downwards. Who the hell uses electricity from midnight to 4am? Only those who get it cheaper to heat water. Originally, good old constant-output-coal, needed a nice flat demand curve and things like water heating filled the nighttime gap in demand. Most economic activity happens in the day or early evening. A small proportion of generation being solar, meets the midday peak electricity consumption, a useful thing for king coal. But a 35/40 week uterus of solar eats coal’s lunch. The solution you might say is to droop the uterine tubes of this demand graph by shifting water heating from night to day, but this just eats into coal’s midnight snack . Leaving this old-fart technology with absolutely nothing to do at all, except hold the baby, when young parents wind and solar are out on the town and not available to parent the grid.

      • Hettie 3 months ago

        You forget 24/7 enterprises such as hospitals and care facilities, Police stations, night clubs, and old farts like me who are awake and writing half baked comments on various platforms. Sometimes. Parents with sick kids.
        Street lights, traffic lights water heaters, water and sewage pumping, brothels, defence facilities, continuous process factories, probably lots more.
        Not nearly as much demand as from 06:00 to 22:00 hrs, but a long way from nothing.

        • Mike Dill 3 months ago

          Street lights and traffic lights are going to LEDs, as are all the light in my house. My home LED monitor now draws 50w, (it is really big as I am getting blind), which is way less than my old CRT drew. Yes, there are a number of places that draw power 24/7, but, like my house, a lot of those are getting more efficient.

          • Hettie 3 months ago

            Of course smart councils are going, have gone to led for street lights, and although the individual light load is tiny, collectively the load is huge.

        • Ian 3 months ago

          Oh that’s why there’s electricity demand at the witching hours. I always thought this was due to continuous process industry like aluminium smelting. My bad!

          • Hettie 3 months ago

            Indeed your bad. Read again. See the words, “Continuous process factories” ?

    • Hettie 3 months ago

      What a mind!

      • solarguy 3 months ago

        Yep, sharp as a tack I am. Lol.

    • Hettie 3 months ago

      With no labels, that graph means nothing.

      • Brad 3 months ago

        That’s my 5kw system

        Orange consumption blue production.

        What generates the shortfall ?

        • solarguy 3 months ago

          Is this typical production and consumption?

        • Hettie 3 months ago

          What on earth are you doing to use 35 kWh a day?
          And where in Australia are you?
          15 kWh production from a 5 kW system seems low, but I know I am biased by ideal location and setup.
          Please tell us :-
          direction your panels face
          Pitch
          Shading?
          Weather conditions for those few days
          Off peak electric hot
          water?
          Any other factors that seem relevant.

    • Joe 3 months ago

      Please explain what drives your usage (orange bar )…air con, pool pump running all day perhaps.

      • Brad 3 months ago

        Very little 2 medium fridges, a reverse cycle aircon used to heat on the odd morning, 4.5 star efficiency

        Electric cook top, and a toaster oven.

        I think the hws is a big killer

        But my point is in winter solar provides little energy and not when it’s needed most.

        • Hettie 3 months ago

          Winter solar performance is very location and weather dependant, and there is not much you can do about either.
          The HWS, on the other hand, you can modify.
          If funds allow, replace it with a heat pump, with timer set to run in the middle of the day. Far more efficient use of power than the standard resistance heating, and not hampered by forced overnight use. On grey days that power will still cost, but on sunny days it mops up your electrons like nothing else can.
          If funds are tight, look at reducing heat loss. An insulated cover. Certainly an insulated jacket for the pressure release valve. Check to ensure the valve, and all other plumbing, is not leaking. Insulate the pipes.
          Ensure your shower head is low flow. Good ones give a good shower, and have variable spray patterns. Limit showers to 5 minutes. Do NOT shave or brush your teeth in the shower! Threaten adolescent young with very nasty consequences for showers longer than ten minutes. Withdrawal of taxi service is a good one.
          Use cold water for laundry, and run the machine mid day.
          Ensure your lights are all leds. Halogen down lights are a big guzzler of power.
          Good luck. Finding a hot water leak might make a big difference, but being sensible about the way you use hot water is even more important.

          • RobertO 3 months ago

            Hi Hettie, also replace the High Temperature High Pressure relief valve with a higher rating and at the same time install a new one at the bottom of the HWS after the Non Return Valve with the same rating as the current unit. This will result in cold water relief not hot water relief, so saving some 48 kWhr per year (it law in SA but rest of Australia no way)

        • Joe 3 months ago

          Hi Brad, sure wintertime when the sun tracks lower in the sky and daylight hours shortening will lessen your solar production compared with summertime but you still do 10 – 15plus around the time of the winter solstice which isn’t too shabby. The positioning of your panels and shading issues can also knock down your solar production. Those days where you pulled 30kWh plus of usage does seem rather high though. If you identify your HWS as an energy sucker then perhaps a change of system is worth considering.

  8. Aluap 3 months ago

    Not true as the rate of return is dependent on the government.

    • Hettie 3 months ago

      What is not true? Your comment seems to be in a vacuum.

Comments are closed.