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High power prices and renewable energy will finish off most industries

By Alan Moran, Saltbush Club and Cairnsnews,

Rio Tinto’s [Paywall] announced closure of its aluminium smelter in New Zealand due to uncompetitive power prices is a reminder of the vulnerability of Australia’s four remaining smelters, all of which face sharply higher prices courtesy of government energy policies. With energy costs comprising about a third of their total costs, smelters are industry’s bellwethers of future energy competitiveness and all four of Australia’s are on national suicide watch.

As a result of subsidies to wind and solar, these expensive and unreliable energy sources have caused high customer costs, both directly and indirectly, while also diverting the nation’s investment resources into avenues that actually damage the economy.

Amumina producer Rio Tinto Alcan has threatened to close its CQ Boyne Smelter over  extortionist power prices causing the loss of 3000 jobs. This would place Rio’s Weipa bauxite mine under a cloud.

The Queensland Labor Government”s suicidal rush to rely on 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030 will finish off any remaining industries that rely on base load power. Rio’s Tannum Sands aluminum smelter is struggling now with high power costs and has threatened to close down its Gladstone refinery and Boyne smelter if power charges don’t ease. This would result in the loss of more than 3000 jobs for its Gladstone  workforce.

Commonwealth and state subsidies for wind and solar energy are running at just under $7 billion a year. $4 billion of these are as a result of requirements imposed on consumers by the Commonwealth’s Renewable Energy Target, its similar provisions for roof-top installations and measures taken by state governments. Some $2 billion of assistance to renewables comes from direct subsidies.

The effect of these subsidies is compounded by their forcing out of production lower cost coal generators. As a result, prices are now double what they were three years ago, bringing the national damage to over $15 billion per year. The outcome is that from having the world’s lowest cost electricity we now suffer from being among the highest and our reliance on intermittent renewables has left supply increasingly precarious.

But it does not stop there. In order to accommodate the subsidised renewables, consumers are being required to spend vast sums to augment transmission links.

These expenditures are for two reasons. First, they are to allow the surplus from wind and solar during daytime peaks to be exported – a further subsidy to renewables. Secondly, they are to provide greater security for those regions, especially South Australia, which have become over-reliant on intermittent power, having jettisoned the in-state coal generators that provided stability and reliability. In addition, suffering from a disastrous Malcolm Turnbull thought bubble, we are in the process of converting the magnificent Snowy and Tasmanian hydro systems into quasi-batteries that will, at a cost of 30 per cent of their output, simply offset the inherent unreliability and intermittent nature of wind and solar. The Tasmanian link is likely to cost over $2 billion and Snowy2 will be far pricier than this.

At some future date we will ask how this was allowed to happen. How did we as a nation not only acquiesce in but actually finance the demise of our energy industry? Agenda 21 can provide the answers.

Obviously, the great sales pitch from the wind/solar subsidy seekers is part of the answer. That pitch promised low cost reliable electricity if only the government offered a few incentives as a bridge to this future. So also is the hysteria, on which the subsidy-seekers’ pitch partly rested, about global warming and the misinformation that this can be remedied by Australia abandoning the fossil fuels that still supply three quarters of our electricity.

But a great deal of the blame must be sheeted home to the bureaucracy, especially Treasury, formerly the gatekeeper to wasteful spending and the leader in combating other damaging proposals and policy stances. Forty years ago, under the legendary John Stone, the Commonwealth Treasury not only focused on paring back ministerial spending ambitions but was also the leader in reducing regulatory imposts – which were at that time mainly in the form of import tariffs.

Gradually Treasury has metamorphosed. Treasurers themselves, with the notable exception of Peter Costello, have been incapable of resisting the green interventionist advice that they have been offered.

Today the Treasury is headed by people who are wedded to accelerating an “inevitable” replacement of fossil fueled electricity generation to one dominated by wind, solar or some yet to be discovered alternative. Secretary Steven Kennedy was the author of the notorious 2008 Garnaut report with its panoply of taxes and new spending levers designed to transform the economy. The two senior Deputy Secretaries, Jenny Wilkinson and Meghan Quinn have also spent over a decade pressing for socialist carbon taxes and other interventions designed to push the economy in the directions they favour.

The coronavirus crisis offers an opportunity to turn back the tide before it engulfs the entire economy. Benefits include savings of over $2 billion in Commonwealth and state outlays presently wasted in direct support of renewables, a further $5 billion in regulatory forced transfers imposed on electricity customers and almost $10 billion in consequent increases in wholesale energy costs. In addition, there are the further outlays down the pike on new transmission lines and in converting the hydro schemes into renewable support facilities.

But the leading bureaucrats will not help in illuminating these opportunities and the Energy Minister is either incapable of persuading his colleagues to reverse course or he too is captive to the same environmentalist fervor.

The stupidity of green power

from Viv Forbes, Science Writer

“Daring to Doubt”
by Tony Abbott:
“Climate change is by no means the sole or even the most significant symptom of the changing interests and values of the West. Still, only societies with high levels of cultural amnesia could have made such a religion out of it. Beware the pronouncement, “the science is settled”. It’s the spirit of the Inquisition, the thought-police down the ages. Almost as bad is the claim that “99 per cent of scientists believe” as if scientific truth is determined by votes rather than facts.”
–Tony Abbott, 2017 Annual GWPF Lecture, London 9 October 2017
https://www.thegwpf.org/tony-abbott-daring-to-doubt

http://joannenova.com.au/2017/10/dangerous-abbott-unleashed-speaks-the-truth-critics-froth-and-flounder/

 “Escaping the Renewable Energy Trap”
by Alan Moran:
https://www.spectator.com.au/2017/09/escaping-the-renewable-energy-subsidy-trap/

 “The Paris Agreement”
by President Donald Trump
What he really said.

https://www.thegwpf.com/reminder-what-president-trump-really-said-about-the-paris-agreement/

Serious Defects in Australia’s Energy Policies

Donald Trump:

“… As President, I can put no other consideration before the wellbeing of American citizens.  The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers — who I love — and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production.

Thus, as of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris Accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country.  This includes ending the implementation of the nationally determined contribution and, very importantly, the Green Climate Fund which is costing the United States a vast fortune….”

A group of retired senior engineers challenge Australia’s bi-partisan energy foolishness. See:
https://carbon-sense.com/2017/10/13/open-letter-to-the-prime-minister-of-australia/

 

Shock Finding – Renewables are NOT Renewable

by Viv Forbes

There is an incessant chorus from the green gospellers glorifying “renewable” energy and warning disbelievers that continued use of carbon fuels will damn the world to eternal fires of global warming.

Their ire is focussed on carbon dioxide, one very minor but beneficial atmospheric gas which is accused of causing more of everything bad: pollution and extreme weather, droughts and floods, snowstorms and hurricanes, malaria and mosquitos, icebergs and glacier retreat, heat waves and blizzards, declining polar bears and multiplying cane toads.

We are told that using “renewable” energy will prevent all these disasters and produce cheap “clean” electricity. Four points are relevant:

First, carbon dioxide produced by burning coal, oil, gas, diesel, petrol or wood is not a pollutant in the atmosphere, not the key driver of global warming or climate change, but a boon to all plants (and thus all life). It is clean and green. There is thus no environmental or climate justification for punitive taxes on carbon dioxide, or for really silly stuff like emissions trading or carbon capture and burial.

Second, wind and solar power have a role in remote or mobile applications and in domestic hot water generation, but are an unreliable and high cost addition to grid power. Because of their intermittent and unpredictable supply characteristics, the large areas of land required to collect significant energy, and their need for back-up generators or huge batteries, they can seldom compete in a fair market with coal, gas, nuclear or hydro power. Nothing anyone can do will change these natural characteristics.

Third, those who wish to use “renewable” energy or to become independent of the grid are free to do so, and this should continue. But green energy should not be molly-coddled with subsidies from taxpayers or other users, nor protected by extra taxes on carbon energy, taxpayer loans, mandated market shares or propped up prices.

Finally, there is one killer point that has recently emerged.

Google has long supported green energy and had a dream to power all of their energy-hungry computers and air-conditioned data centres with “renewables”. It was revealed recently by their own technical advisers that this dream is a delusion. The fatal flaw discovered is that wind/solar energy may not reduce life-time emissions of carbon dioxide and is unlikely to ever be cheaper than coal. The data collected shows that renewables will barely generate sufficient energy over the life of the facilities to recover the energy used to manufacture, construct and maintain those facilities.

Most so called “renewable” energy relies on the sun, and is better referred to as “in-exhaustible”. But at any point on Earth, wind/solar is more accurately called “intermittent energy”. And to build plants to extract electricity from the sun using wind or solar collectors is a zero-sum game or worse – they may not produce enough energy to recoup the energy cost of
replacing those facilities.

Wind/solar energy thus fails its central justification – it is not renewable.

For those who would like to read more:

Google Green tried hard to make green energy work:
http://www.google.com/green/energy/

But Google Engineers now say renewable energy won’t work:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/11/22/shocker-top-google-engineers-say-renewable-energy-simply-wont-work/

http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/renewables/what-it-would-really-take-to-reverse-climate-change

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/11/22/Renewable-energy-so-useless-that-even-greenie-Google-gave-up-on-it

Troubles at world’s largest solar plant: production down, gas usage up:
http://breakingenergy.com/2014/10/29/at-ivanpah-solar-power-plant-energy-production-falling-well-short-of-expectations/

The Catch22 of Energy Storage:
http://bravenewclimate.com/2014/08/22/catch-22-of-energy-storage/