This is a note to remind politicians and others that the transition from coal to wind and
solar power will be extremely difficult and most likely impossible in Australia with existing storage
Since March 2020 the Energy Realists of Australia sent a series of briefing notes to all sitting
MPs in the country and to a number of journalists and commentators to signal the danger of
eliminating coal power stations without adequate substitutes in place. The major parties all
pressed on regardless with aggressive policies to eliminate coal and so all must share the
responsibility for the current crisis. Moreover, the press corps neglected to inform the general
public about the issues to facilitate a proper public discussion. For the most part politicians and
voters sleep-walked into the last election without an adequate grasp of the energy policy issues at
ICEBERGS IN THE PATH OF THE RENEWABLE ENERGY TITANIC
1. Wind droughts. There are frequent and prolonged “wind droughts” when there is next to no wind
across the whole of SE Australia for many hours and even days at a time.
2. The “gap in the fence” factor. The grid needs a continuous input of power to meet 100% of
demand all the time. The lowest level of RE input is the critical indicator of the sustainability
of the system, not the installed capacity, the high points or the average performance of the solar
fields and the wind fleet. Hopes are sustained by the high level of RE penetration on good days but
that is like building a boundary fence that is high in some places (sunny Sunday afternoons) but
missing elsewhere (windless nights.)
3. Australia is an island. Almost every other place in the developed world has access to
neighbours to supply power from many sources when domestic RE is in short supply.
4. Lack of grid-scale storage.
That these critical issues be discussed in the party rooms, in the media and among the general public.
That regular news and weather bulletins on radio and TV report the amount of power that is being
provided by the wind at the time.