The Energy Crisis: How we got here and how to move on
This is a series of papers on energy issues written for the online version of The Australian Spectator, starting in July 2022.
There are parallel universes in energy policy and they are about to collide.
In one universe, the governments of Australia and most of the Western world are committed to the flight from coal to renewable energy. In the other, we have already gone as far as we can go in that direction with existing storage technology.
The combination of wind droughts and the lack of feasible grid-scale battery storage makes the green energy transition impossible for the time being, despite what we are told.
22.6 Is This the Energy Crisis We Had to Have?
22.5 A Warning to all Politicians Obsessed with Net Zero
Most people in the general public are not obsessed with net zero at all costs. That is clear from a poll conducted by the Institute of Public Affairs.
Activists and media pundits who loudly and visibly demand for more action are out of step.
61% of Australians agree the federal government should be more focused on defending Australia’s security than pursuing a net zero emissions target
72% of Australians want affordable energy bills and reliability to be at the core of Australia’s energy policy – not net zero
92% of Australians are unwilling to pay above $100 per year for net zero policies
See the results
22.4 The Geopolitics of Energy
Mark Mills at the Manhattan Institute has been sending warning signals for years that the push for intermittent energy in the west could have serious geopolitical consequences. Here he explains how the conflict in the Ukraine has brought the drastic consequences upon us ahead of schedule.
Naivete about energy realities robbed the U.S. and its allies of important “soft power” options and helped finance Russia’s aggression. In the near term, our choices are limited, but continuing down the same energy path is a formula for yet more problems in the future.
He notes that the EU and the US over the past two decades spent more than $5 trillion and made countless
22.8 The Snowy2.0 Pumped Hydro Scheme
The green energy transition towards net zero depends on massive amounts of storage to cover the gaps in the generation of wind and solar power, especially on windless nights.
The underlying concept behind the Snowy 2.0 Pumped Hydro Energy Storage (PHES) Scheme is to generate electricity by releasing water from the upper Tantangara reservoir to drive the turbines and to capture the released water in the lower Talbingo reservoir. During periods of excess electrical energy in the National Electricity Market (NEM), the water is pumped from Talbingo back to Tantangara, thus completing a cycle.
The Tantangara reservoir has an active storage of 240 GL which, theoretically when full, is sufficient to generate 350 GWh of electrical