A WARNING FROM THE ENERGY REALISTS OF AUSTRALIA
The Australian energy crisis will deteriorate when more coal power stations close but the general public has not been told the truth of the matter.
This situation has been addressed by the Energy Realists of Australia in a series of briefing notes circulated to 800+ state and federal members and a long list of journalists.
The notes contain essential information and analysis that has not been provided by official sources or the mainstream media.
LIST OF BRIEFING NOTES
Wind droughts occur frequently across the whole of SE Australia when high pressure systems linger. These droughts ensure that wind and solar power will not replace conventional power any time soon.
20.2 FOUR ICEBERGS IN THE PATH OF THE RE TITANIC
Four features of the Australian situation make the RE transition practically impossible with existing technology. These are wind droughts, the need for continuous input to the grid, our island status (no extension cords) and lack of large-scale storage.
The RE transition is limited by the lowest point of wind and solar generation on low-wind nights (effectively zero), not the installed capacity, the high points or the average.
20.3 THE ISLAND EFFECT
Australia, being an island, is seriously disadvantaged in attempting to achieve ambitious renewable energy targets because we can’t run extension cords to other countries to obtain power when we are short.
20.4 A WARNING TO ALL LEADERS
A survey of the dangers of relying on the wind to power a modern economy.
California has run down its coal, gas and nuclear capacity and now depends on power from other states during periods of maximum demand. As the other states run down their conventional power, Californians are now being subjected to “demand management.”
21.1 CRITICAL REVIEW OF THE CSIRO GENCOST STUDY
A critical review of the CSIRO report on the comparative cost of power from various sources.
Clearly the cost of firming (backing up) intermittent energy was underestimated.
21.2 ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION: THE DARK SIDE OF WIND AND SOLAR POWER
The supply chains of the wind and solar industry leave footprints of human and environmental disaster through several steps from exploration and mining to the disposal of toxic wastes at the end of the road. Climate control strategies are like chemotherapy for the planet but the treatment is damaging people and the planet while extra CO2 is greening it.
21.3 AUSTRALIA IS DOING NET ZERO ALREADY
Taking account of our forests and grasslands, calculations suggest that we are absorbing more CO2 that we are emitting. This means that we are doing better than net zero already.
21.4 FIRMING WIND FARMS WITH BATTERIES
The main kinds of firming power are gas, pumped hydro and battery storage.
Gas is not acceptable to Greens and pumped hydro will not be available for years.
The cost of battery storage required to firm up the power supply from a typical wind farm is astronomical.
21.5 FIRMING WIND FARMS WITH PUMPED HYDRO
The main kinds of firming power are gas, pumped hydro and battery storage.
Gas is not acceptable to Greens and batteries are too expensive (note 20.4)
Modern HELE USC coal fired plants are economically and technically superior solutions to the supply of power to replace the old plants as they close.
12.6 SHORT-TERM FLUCTUATIONS IN THE WIND
Frequent outages of coal-fired turbines would be regarded as a serious scandal and receive headline treatment in the media but large and rapid falls in the wind power supply pass without comment.
21.7 RE CAN DISPLACE COAL POWER BUT NOT REPLACE IT
Increasing the penetration of unreliable energy from the wind and the sun into the electricity supply can make coal power stations uneconomic but cannot replace them.
The rate of exit from coal is not accelerated by increasing penetration on good days, it is limited by the lowest level of output on nights with little or no wind, as a convoy travels at the speed of the slowest vessel, the water penetrates the levee at the lowest point, a chain is only as strong as the weakest link and stock get out of the yard through gaps even if the rest of the fence is built to the sky.
As long as periods with effectively zero solar and wind power persist, 100% backup from conventional power will still be required, assuming that we want security of supply. This means that we will have to keep burning coal until nuclear power is on deck.
21.8 THE REAL COST OF RE WITH FIRMING
It is essential to fully cost the firming (the backup) that has to be provided to cover the intermittent output of wind and solar facilities.
There is no such thing as firming from intermittent providers and no amount of additional RE capacity will help.
21.9 MISPLACED EXCITEMENT ABOUT HYDROGEN
Government decisions to allocate substantial funds to “hydrogen hubs” are based on wishful thinking among green advisors in the bureaucracy.
Grants for developing green hydrogen should be subjected to cost-benefit analysis over short to medium terms.
When all the green hydrogen projects around the world come on stream there will be a glut on the market!
21.10 COST OF FIRMING SOLAR FARMS WITH GAS TURBINES
The paper supporting this note demonstrates the disastrous economic and other outcomes of the NSW Electricity Roadmap.
21.11 THE MANY DOWNSIDES OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES
The misplaced enthusiasm for electric vehicles matches the hype for green hydrogen.
The list of problems is so long that you need to read the note to appreciate them. Consider the social injustice of subsidies for well-off people who can afford evs, the human rights of workers in the supply chain, the danger of fast-moving and soundless missiles on the road, the fire hazard, the volume of minerals and mining required, the extra demand for power (which will be more expensive, thus undermining the economy of driving evs), the need to drive almost 100,000km to balance the extra CO2 generated in building the ev, the charging infrastructure required, the limited life of the battery compared with conventional vehicles, the limitations of evs during emergencies - fires, floods, power blackouts.
21.12 THE SMALL CAPACITY OF "BIG BATTERIES"
False and misleading claims about the firming capacity of so-called “big batteries” must cease to enable a sensible debate about the future of the power supply.
For a start, journalists who rate the capacity of batteries in MW instead of MWhrs should be promptly escorted from the building, with their personal effects thrown into the street after them.
21.13 FAKE SCHOOL EDUCATION
Many cohorts of school students have been subjected to green propaganda by activist teachers and lately by the common curriculum. The level of public debate cannot be expected to improve until this is corrected by a coast to coast parents’ revolt to save our schools.
21.14 GREENWASHING OVERSEAS CLAIMS ABOUT PROGRESS TOWARDS NET ZERO
Australia has substantially reduced emissions while many nations have shamelessly greenwashed their credentials.
This is most unfair. We should get some credit for doubling or tripling the price of power, trashing the property rights of farmers, bringing the grid to the point of collapse and funding a myriad of new government and quasi-government agencies dedicated to the task of increasing the cost of doing business.
Who would dare to calculate the deadweight cost of merely counting the emissions?
21.15 THE IMPOSSIBLE TASK OF THE GREEN TRANSITION
The Energy Security Board was supposed to suggest market reforms to expedite the energy transition but they contemplated a continuing role for gas and coal so they were sent to the naughty corner.
The responsible bodies in the various states are now stuck with the problem and soon they will have to find a way to keep the coal fires burning. This will be interesting to watch.
21.16 THE DEBACLE OF RE IN EUROPE
The energy crisis in Europe should be well-known by now but the MSM has not kept people up to date. When this note was written the crisis was in plain view, long before the war in Ukraine aggravated the situation.
The root of the problem, as for Australia, is the wind droughts that they call “Dunkelflautes”which can persist for many weeks every year. Like Australia, the gravity of the threat only emerged when conventional power ran down to a critical point which they have reached and we will encounter when another power station or two closes.
Here is a mystery, how come they were surprised by Dunkelflautes when European sailors must have known about low wind periods for centuries when they travelled by sail? Maritime museums must be full of ships logs with descriptions of calm weather.
21.17 FAKE CLIMATE ALARMS
Steven Koonin, a highly decorated climate scientist, previously an Under Secretary in President Obamas Energy Office, read the 4000 pages of scientific papers in the recent IPCC Assessment Report. None of the alarms reported in the Summary for Policymakes (and inflated in press coverage), are supported by the scientific literature.
21.18 THE REAL COST OF GREEN HYDROGEN
So what is the point of generating green hydrogen that has to be converted back to electricity to drive things like electric cars, aeroplanes and road trains?
Welcome to Fantasyland! All the plans for green hydrogen at present are hopes and dreams that depend on major technological advances and practically unlimited supplies of very cheap wind and solar power.
21.19 WIND FAILS IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA
In the course of a year SA is a net exporter of power, thanks to a good supply of gas, but whenever the wind low SA imports power (and also burns gas).
High penetration of wind and solar for much some of the time, even most of the time, does not compensate for next to no wind solar some of the time. See notes 20.1, 20.2 and 21.7 (wind and solar can DISPLACE coal but not REPLACE it.)
21.20 THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF MINING FOR RE MINERALS
The International Energy Agency calculated that the needs for “energy transition minerals” such as lithium, graphite, nickel and rare-earth metals would rise by 4,200%, 2,500%, 1,900% and 700%, respectively, by 2040.
Believe it when you see it!
Notes 22.1 to 22.6 NOT ON THE SITE AT THIS STAGE
22.1 ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE CAUSED BY WIND AND SOLAR CONSTRUCTION
Serious environmental issues arise at ten stages of wind and solar production, from mining raw materials to the disposal of turbines, batteries and solar panels at the end of their working lives.
Environmental impact is the dirty secret of the wind and solar industry and when environmentalists realise what is happening many will not tolerate the damage.
22.2 HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE SUPPLY CHAIN
More investigation of the involvement of children and forced labour in RE supply chains is urgently required.
22.3 THE REAL COST OF FIRMING WIND AND SOLAR The real cost of firming wind and solar power. Repeating the findings reported in note 21.8.
The estimate for Option 6, 100%RE, fully firmed, is in the order of $400-$420 per MWhr compared with the cost at the time (Option 1) was less than $80 per MWhr.
22.4 MARK MILLS ON 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 drastic geopolitical implicatioins. Here he explains how the conflict in the Ukraine has brought the consequences upon us ahead of schedule.
22.5 WARNING TO POLITICIANS - COST MATTERS!
Activists and media pundits who demand more action are out of step with the community.
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
22.6 IS THIS THE ENERGY CRISIS WE HAD TO HAVE?
A wake-up call after the Federal election in 2022.
Due to wind droughts the transition from coal to wind and solar power can’t happen until we have nuclear power. Despite persistent warnings from the Energy Realists that were sent to all sitting MPs in the country and to many journalists, the major parties all pressed on with aggressive policies to eliminate coal. All must share the responsibility for the impending crisis.
Moreover, the press corps neglected to inform the general public about the issues and voters sleep-walked into the last election without understanding the energy policy issues at stake.
To promote wind literacy it is recommended 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.
22.7 THE MAGIC PUDDING OF ENERGY STORAGE
We have effectively no grid-scale storage and there is no prospect of any in the foreseeable future. See note 21.12.