7th Sep 2017

Electricity prices likely to rise after power plant shutdown

power meter
Olga Galacho

Just three years after the NSW Government sold the ageing, coal-fired Liddell power plant to AGL, the Federal Government is now begging the energy giant not to close it down. 

The request follows the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) informing the Government of the urgency of avoiding an overburdened electricity sector from failing to supply enough power. 

"The Energy Minister and I are already in discussions with the owner of Liddell, AGL, about how we can ensure that that power station stays in operation for at least another 5 years after 2022," said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. 

 Whether or not AGL is convinced to keep the power station operating after its 2022 use-by date, one thing is certain – electricity prices will continue rising. 

In a market where supply cannot keep up with demand, the delivered product or service can command a premium price. 

And while it will be NSW electricity users who will be mostly affected by the final decision on Liddell, Victorians and South Australians have also been warned to brace for unreliable supply. 

The AEMO this week declared that the likelihood of summer blackouts in the two southern states was real, given the expected surge in demand from air-conditioners. 

Without some form of intervention to prop up electricity supply, the operator estimated that the risk of blackouts in Victoria was 43 per cent and 33 per cent in South Australia. 

In order to protect the greater electricity network, the market would be asked to ‘shed load’ at peak demand times. 

Measures suggested to avert load shedding include AEMO paying for demand to be reduced, buying extra energy to keep in reserve, and greater use of diesel and gas-fired electricity. 

The latter is the most expensive fossil fuel used in Australia and burning more of it will cause prices to spike. 

Since 2012, a dozen coal-fired power stations have been decommissioned. The two largest were Victoria’s Hazelwood, which closed in March, and NSW’s Wallerawang C, which has not operated since November 2014. 

The potential shut down of Liddell will have a bigger impact on the national grid. Not only is its output greater than Hazelwood’s, with a capacity of 2000 megawatts it is also Australia’s fourth largest coal plant. 

The second and third largest plants, NSW’s Bayswater and Victoria’s Loy Yang A, are due to close in 2035 and 2048 respectively. 

The biggest, NSW’s 2880-megawatt Eraring will be retired in the early 2030s, according to operator Origin Energy. 

Uncertainty about future energy policy has meant that no new coal plants have been built in Australia since 2010. The inertia exists because power companies have been unable to decipher how much market support they will receive for investing in fossil fuel versus renewables generation.  

According to RenewEconomy, in about 13 years from now, the coal-fired sector will be supplying less than a third – some 10 gigawatts - of the electricity it was producing in 2012,. 

In the meantime, according to the Australian Energy Market Operator’s projections, we’ll connect 22 gigawatts of new large-scale wind and solar over the next 20 years, and by then we’ll have more than 20 gigawatts of rooftop PV, the publication reported. 

These projections were made before two massive renewable announcements this year: Mr Turnbull’s plans to double the capacity of the Snowy Hydro Scheme and South Australia doing a deal with US company Tesla to build a giant 100-megawatt battery to store solar energy. 

 

Opinion: Turnbull lets power go to his head  

It is difficult to fathom why Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull would go cap in hand to energy companies with hypocritical pleas. 

Hypocritical because as a successful businessman and climate-change believer, it is ironic that he is asking certain electricity producers to:

  • keep their struggling businesses operating
  • ask that these businesses stop making enormous profits from ripping off Aussies, and
  • he used to regularly call for the phase out of dirty coal power generation. 

 

Just months ago he was trumpeting one of his pet projects – a huge increase in the capacity of the Snowy Hydro Scheme. The $2 billion plan would boost the renewable energy generator’s 4100 megawatt output by 50 per cent to power 500,000 homes. 

What are you waiting for, Mr Turnbull? Just build it, before the dirty coal businesses blackmail you into spending the $2 billion to bail out their failing plants. 

If the Prime Minister is foolish enough to rescue the Liddell power plant it will fly in the face of one of his key advisers, the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC). 

Not so long ago, the commission said: “The decision of a generator to retire should be a commercial decision. ?Investment and divestment decisions are based on a range of factors. A decision to retire a generator can take a number of years and requires intimate knowledge of the commercial and operating structures of that generator as well as clear expectations about future revenues and costs. Generators are best-placed to manage the risk of their own investment or divestment decisions. The added benefit of this approach is that the risks of poor investment decisions are borne by generators rather than taxpayers or electricity consumers (as would be the case if a government were to intervene).” 

In June, when Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel unveiled a blueprint to optimise Australia’s electricity market, he received a half-hearted response from the Government. It’s time for Mr Turnbull and his cohort to fully embrace Dr Finkel’s recommendations. They will go much further to encourage investment in the market to ensure we have a stable power supply all around the country and well into the future. 

“The National Electricity Market is 5000km long, spans five states and one territory and has more than 9 million metered customers. It’s essential that we get it right,” Dr Finkel said at the launch of his considered blueprint. 

Attempting to talk AGL into not retiring Liddell will only add more uncertainty and volatility to a network that is failing many Australians, both on supply and pricing. 

What is the point of stretching Liddell’s lifespan out to 2027, when less than a fortnight ago the Prime Minister essentially fast-tracked the hydro project with a $29 million injection? With construction expected to begin next year, the expansion of the Snowy scheme is expected to be complete in 2024 – just two years after Liddell’s closure. And it will deliver extra hydro generation equal to Liddell’s current output.  

Begging for the coal plant to keep burning fossil fuel for five more years is nonsense. Two more years, until the extra hydro electricity could be delivered, would make more sense. 

At least Mr Turnbull appears to have got one thing right – keeping the Snowy scheme in government hands – because we all know what happens when electricity infrastructure is privatised. Prices go up as companies do their shareholders’ bidding to post ever increasing profits while they continue gouge consumers. 

How much more are you paying for electricity now compared to the past? Do you think selling public assets to the free market has encouraged competition and brought power prices down? Should governments stop selling generation plants? Should governments bail out failing privately owned infrastructure? 

Related articles: 
Finkel Electricity Facts 
Electricity reliability not satisfactory 
Understanding power bills





COMMENTS

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MICK
7th Sep 2017
10:36am
Here we have a coal owned government now caught between a rock and a hard place.
The blame for where we are at lays clearly at the feet of the Abbott and Turnbull governments which are controlled by the coal industry and which did their best to close down the renewable industry. This blame goes further out and we need to understand that it began in the Howard era when Howard's government allowed our world class LNG assets to be sold to offshore investors. Now the gas which should be available to Australians and for cleaner power generation is going to Asia. Sold out again.
This brings us to the now. How do we solve a problem entirely of this government's making? One way is to encourage households to put solar panels on their rooftops as in big demand periods much of this energy feeds straight into the grid. The system I signed up for recently will do exactly that. So who needs more dead money spent on coal?
No matter where we look with this government we see mismanagement on a grand scale with the only answer being hateful attacks on Labor with accusations which are not factual.
Australia needs a government which will abandon toxic coal. The current one is clearly not in the race and failing another Murdoch propaganda campaign will shortly be gone. Let us all hope that we get a new government with some direction rather than spending on BS, attacks on retirees and tax cuts for the rich.
grounded
7th Sep 2017
10:44am
Totally agree Mick....every coal fired power station in Australia should be closed immediately...within a week at least. We have our 'renewables' to fall back on.....plus our solar panels...(lol)

Go away with your bolshy rubbish Mick....
MICK
7th Sep 2017
10:51am
Mentally challenged? Maybe a right wing stoolie?
Its common sense that you can't close these dinosaurs down until you replace them but that has been the issue. Your right wing governments have only ever done one thing: tried everything to shut down the renewable industry. Never a thought about the future but then what do you expect when you are being funded by the coal industry.
Old Geezer
7th Sep 2017
10:56am
If you haven't worked it out yet they are closing the coal fired power stations so power will get that expensive there will be only one alternative. Gas is also now too expensive too so that's out too. Nuclear power. They have already decided where they are going to build them too.

Let's face it renewable energy just does not provide the base load neither and is many years away from doing so.
Tom Tank
7th Sep 2017
11:32am
Old Geezer perhaps you are correct here but the problem is that nuclear power raises more questions than it answers.
We have had the present government lambasting Labor about leaving a financial burden on the next generation but nuclear power would leave a burden for over a thousand years.
There is still NOT a safe method of storing nuclear waste, let alone disposing of it completely. Shutting down a nuclear power station at the end of it's life poses horrendous problems with on-going containment and monitoring for countless generations to cope with.
Nuclear fusion is quite different but that is still way into the future.
The LNP have locked themselves into a corner with their obsession with coal, thank you Abbott and Turnbull. I suppose they have to dance to the tune of their financial backers but this is not in the best interests of Australia.
MICK
7th Sep 2017
11:45am
Geezer: gas is too expensive because the Howard government allowed our world class assets to be sold off to foreigners. Go see your local member about that one. STupidity on steroids. The current right wing imbeciles are no better.
Nuclear? Yeah right. Let's store the waste in your backyard Geezer. The ignorance of such a view becomes apparent when you look at the time for the waste to reduce to 'safe' levels.....around a million years. Lets use nuclear....... Show some intelligence mate. This is a no option when there are other solutions which already work.

If it is power you want then put your hands in your pocket and fork out $13,000 for a solar array. I thought so!
Placido
7th Sep 2017
11:51am
Absolutely spot on Mick, if the "destroyers" had allowed emission trading to occur back around 2010 and not compounded their stupidity by baying about "Carbon Tax" the investors would have had a stable environment to invest and we would not be in this position now.

I see that South Australia is adding Solar/Thermal to their mix, that and batteries goes along the right path.

The coalition have almost destoyed our economy by selling assets off, replacing them with bad ideology and nothing substantial.

I do worry about my Grand Children'sd future. No thanks to Abbots "Adults" and the worst Economic Managers ever!
Hasbeen
7th Sep 2017
12:01pm
What utter garbage MICK.

Gas is so expensive because the Vic & NSW governments won't let companies who want to, drill for the stuff. It has nothing to do with exports, & every thing to do with wanting to buy ratbag greenie votes with their crazy "no gas drilling in our state" policies.

The way these fools are going SA & to a lesser degree Vic are going to look like North Korea in any night time photo from space. BLACK.
Tom Tank
7th Sep 2017
12:31pm
Actually "Hasbeen" the farmers have been the driving force opposing fracking because of experience overseas.
Peter Reith visited the US and came back reporting there was not an issue with fracking. Unfortunately it appears he was making it up as he went as there are numerous court cases waiting to be heard over there because of serious issues damaging health and what had been viable farming land.
I am sure if you are really interested in this topic, rather than just having a rant, you could investigate this yourself.
Wstaton
7th Sep 2017
12:39pm
I think people have been listening to the LNP rhetoric.

The SA government are putting in a battery solar system to provide 500megawats.

The Victorian government has committed to building a 400mw system.

A few years ago this wasn't possible but batteries are getting cheaper and will continue to get even cheaper.

There was a report from SA that a couple built a house and found it was going to cost them a fortune to get connected to the grid. So they said stuff it and installed enough solar and batteries that they are completely independent for the power companies. I would do this if I could afford it.

It should be pointed out also that coal and gas power stations do not currently save power at times of low demand. These power stations do not store the excess electricity that could be generated especially considering that coal power stations cannot be shut down on low demand. Why haven't batteries been considered here to supplement times of high demand.

I also read that in Vietnam they have a pumped hydro system that uses solar power to pump water up to the top dam instead of using the power produced by the water. After all solar power is virtually free once the solar systems are built.

Unfortunately politicians can't think outside the box or should I say they want to use these situations for political advantage.
MICK
7th Sep 2017
12:59pm
You are misinformed Hasbeen. CSG, the wrecker of valuable farming land, is totally different to LNG which mostly comes from offshore rigs.
Look up 'Gorgon'. World's third largest LNG deposit. Let go by Howard. Now ALL the gas goes to Asia with not one molecule for the Australians.
That is where the real story lies, not the BS about CSG companies wanting to destroy our farming land. Only the intellectually challenged would call that a policy. But then you are a right winger and anything your crew do is ok with you. I will never agree with this no matter what side of politics it comes from. That is the difference between a real patriot and those who are the puppets of the big end of town.
Rosret
7th Sep 2017
1:17pm
Mick - it wasn't just the LNP that sold off our energy. The Labor party did too. It was Julia who sold the last of our gas off to foreign powers.
Actually I think its was the bureaucrats who have done this and no one put the breaks on it because it was all "now" money.
Wstaton
7th Sep 2017
1:27pm
You are correct Roset.

Done for the day and stuff what happens in the future. Another unintended consequence by politicians because of it is only today that counts the future will look after itself regardless of the consequences.
MICK
7th Sep 2017
2:21pm
We all know we have been sold out. So what are voters going to do about it? There is an old saying: 'if it broke don't fix it and if it is broke stop doing the same thing'. Something for the voting public to ponder on in between footy games and self indulgent lifestyles methinks.
arbee
7th Sep 2017
3:18pm
You are not mentioning one point Mick. The article clearly stated the the problem began in 2010 and if my memory serves me correctly weren't labour in power then? but of course you always blame a conservative government, it would go against your doctrine not to. I suppose that in any future labour governments you will always blame any power problems then on the current Liberal government wont you.
MICK
7th Sep 2017
3:45pm
Fair comment but this current lot have been in power for 4 years. What have they done in 4 years other than double the debt and give money to rich folk? NOTHING to take the country forward with energy.
I blame governments who do not govern. At the very least Labor started the green revolution which you and others decry as bad but which all who so so will be happy to accept when this fight is over. I'll never hear the likes of your right wing hide apologise for your future cheap energy. You'll just take it whilst beating your normal drum. Some Australian!
Wstaton
7th Sep 2017
3:49pm
No Arne, the alp were federal governments. It was the state governments who were mainly LNP certainly in Nsw and Victoria that were selling of the power.

Labor wasn't offering incentives like the federal LNP to sell off assets at this time.

Mind you Labor are just as bad selling off other assets to private enterprise. I do not consider them as a socialist government anymore. They have become as bad as each other.

Interesting it was labor who sold off th CBA. Look where we are with the banks now.
Eddy
7th Sep 2017
4:29pm
What a lot of emotive rhetoric on this subject. The end result is that coal has to go, that is clear, what is used to replace it is the subject of debate. My opinion is that nuclear is a viable option as well as renewables such as wind, solar, tidal, geo-thermic, hydro and any thing else I haven't thought of or hasn't been invented yet. As for nuclear energy, if there is one place on earth where nuclear would be 'safe' it is Australia. Geologically stable, remote sites and heaps of uranium. I have read that the amount of radioactive waste generated by a nuclear power station in it's lifetime would fit into the volume of a small house, a manageable problem. More manageable than all the CO2 spewed into the atmosphere by fossil fuelled power stations.
To those who claim that nuclear is not safe it depends on what you mean as 'safe' Life is one continuous risk but we seem to feel safe.
MICK
7th Sep 2017
4:43pm
Thanks for some non political common sense Eddy. Not sure about the nuclear option though and you may want to research how long the waste has to be stored before it is safe. I don't consider timeframes of around a million years to make any sense and other nations have rued the day they went nuclear. Maybe when Kim drops his bomb those who think otherwise may reconsider.
One thing is for sure and that is WE HAVE TO CHANGE. Not as though climatic events have not been telling us that for half a century.
TREBOR
7th Sep 2017
8:12pm
We could always enrich the waste and turn someone's backyard into a smoking, glowing hole in the molten glass sand..... biog market down the track for nuclear warheads.... everybody's trying to get in on the act.... look at Fat Boy Slim up north of Seoul....
buby
7th Sep 2017
8:18pm
LOL OH so not funny really "GRounded" AS what do ppl that rent do, we can't put the Solar panels on the roof, as its not ours. and SO the struggle GOes on. and So do the High Power bills, and GAS bills.
I"M SO NOT amused TurnBULL.
I won't be voting YOU Back IN.
Charlie
7th Sep 2017
9:01pm
One of the many replies to mick.
Where are we going to find a "government with some direction" when the present one seems to be bogged down with red tape and the labor party and the greens are so far to the left, not even the communists would have anything to do with them.
maxchugg
8th Sep 2017
10:38am
Eddy says coal has to go - why?
At present Australian coal is being burned everywhere but in Australia, so other places derive economic advantage over Australia. Also, if the coal was burned in Australia there could be some control over atmospheric pollution, when it is burned overseas there is no control.
Recently a climate scientist was asked what would be the effect on the atmosphere if Australia completely stopped producing any carbon dioxide and the answer was that it would be infinitesimal. Why, then, are we suffering the highest electricity prices in the world for no valid reason?
maxchugg
11th Sep 2017
12:50pm
Further to previous comments, accusations of a coal owned government are flying around, yet on previous occasions I have read that actually the government was owned by the oil companies, the fossil fuel industry, to mention those that spring more readily to mind, but there have been others.
The disciples of the global warming/climate change religion point to every natural disaster as evidence of the truth of their theology, causing one person to comment that posting pictures of melting glaciers as proof of climate change/global warming was akin to showing falling leaves in autumn of also proving the same thing.
Extremes of climate are cyclical, and the current fashion of describing them as record breaking is dishonesty in the extreme. For example, We are currently being told that the hottest day in Australia was on January 7, 2013 when the temperature reached 40.30 deg. C. Compare that lie with the evidence produced on the following site:
http://joannenova.com.au/2012/11/extreme-heat-in-1896-panic-stricken-people-fled-the-outback-on-special-trains-as-hundreds-die/
john no
7th Sep 2017
11:19am
lets bite the bullet and go nuclear, Japan, Europe,China, India and USA seem to be happy and if we could just forget ideology we could have off the shelf power stations and off the shelf submarines.
MICK
7th Sep 2017
11:46am
Yeah....and Fukushima and Chernobyl do not exist. Where do they come from.
Wstaton
7th Sep 2017
12:44pm
I think there was a similar one in the USA as well Mick but not as bad.
MICK
7th Sep 2017
1:00pm
You are right Wstaton. The issue being nuclear is a fool's paradise.
Couldabeen
7th Sep 2017
6:35pm
On terrawatts of power produced, over the past 50 year, nuclear has been the safest, cleanest and cheapest source of electrical power generation. This includes well over 500 fixed and mobile nuclear power units.
The death toll from Fukushima Daichi and Three Mile Island from radiation has been nil. The death toll from Chernobyl was limited to those who were directly involved in the emergency control actions required. The predicted spike in deaths throughout Europe from the fallout has not eventuated.
The argument about waste disposal is a politically imposed problem. The used fuel can be reprocessed repeatedly but this was prohibited under rules forced on the AEC by the old USSR. The actual danger to human health from nuclear waste is exaggerated for political reasons. It is worth exploring some objective studies of both real and perceived dangers from radiation. A strong political lobby has been determined to prevent the development of affordable nuclear power and has lied for over 50 years using guesstimates of dangers that were not based on science.
buby
7th Sep 2017
8:27pm
WE don't need the NUkes for pwering us UP use your HEad John no a big NO to that idea. solar and winds farms are a must, WE don't need for the like of Chernobyl Accidently happing. Although It Seems N.Korea be happy to Nuke us, and America. Perhaps that will sort out our Problem???
OH the Toll from Chernobyl, was NOT limited to those directly involved, Many are suffering there, their thyroids Stuffed, many walking round with Huge lumps on their throats, and not enough knowledge or know how there to know what to do about it. Its gone threw their Water systems, into their foods. Radiation can travels miles around the world ON the winds???
LOL@couldabeen what rot you talk off! Nuclear Waste Exaggerated....lol for Plitical reasons. OH man you need to study up on this and the latter i spoke off. YOU can't just get rid of the Nuclear garbage, and you have to Store it somewhere, it Pollutes the earth, and it will damage the waters you drink. Study UP old boy
Couldabeen
7th Sep 2017
9:23pm
buby, I'm not sorry to say that you are the one writing rubbish here.
Nuclear, by all methods of measure is the cleanest and safest type of electricity generation. It has even been admitted by opponents of nuclear that over the past 50 years, on terrawatts of power generated, it had the lowest death rate and least adverse effect on health. Deaths outside of the Chernobyl accident remain at zero. Even today there is no risk to health in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, but anti-nuclear zealots continue to spread stories of mutations and dead zones among the wild life.
Nuclear waste is not the dangerous beast that you seem to think. If it were not due to a non-proliferation agreement driven by the old USSR, it would be being reprocessed for reuse generating electricity.
You may be interested to know that the regulations regarding permissible radiation levels at the boundary of a nuclear power station are only a fraction of that permitted at the fence of a coal power station. The permitted level is still several magnitudes greater than what has been demonstrated to be harmful to health.
Remember the anti-nuclear demonstrations that spread through Australia in the 1960's and '70's? They were financed from Moscow through the AWU to develop a fear in nuclear to prevent the west building safe and cheap atomic power stations.
By the way, there is no connection between atomic bombs and nuclear power generation. Neither leads to the other.
It would be worth your while to also study the actual flow patterns of the upper level jet-streams. Whilst circling the earth, they are also quite restricted in their latitudinal spread. We in Australia will have nothing to fear from radiation contamination should there be the detonations of nuclear devices in or over North Korea.
mike
7th Sep 2017
11:32am
Politicians lie. They continually tell us that by selling our assets and natural resources to the private sector and overseas will enable them to be run more efficiently and end up cheaper. Of course the politicians were only interested in filling their back pockets and the next election. Common sense would tell us that the private sector is ONLY interested in making a profit and OF COURSE prices would go up. Also selling our energy to overseas interests ensured that we would end up being the poor outside looking in. BUT NEVER FEAR THE POLIES GOT THEIR BACK POCKETS FILLED.
MICK
7th Sep 2017
11:50am
Good assessment. Running the country is identical to running your household. When you flog off everything of value and blow the money then you end up destitute. Australians may not want to have a debate about the inevitable result of half a century of betrayal from our governments but when the minerals run out we will become the next India. An inconvenient fact and denial stops up from having that discussion but as surely as the sun rises so too will this fate come to get us unless we actually do something in this country other than import citizens, flog off the silverware and hold out the hand. Eh Gad....somebody is going to accuse me of being a leftie. Chuckle.
TREBOR
7th Sep 2017
8:19pm
Well said... been saying that for at least twenty years now... in between a fiction WW IV series and the seminal "How The East Was Won" outlining the cultural assimilation of Asia and principally Communist Asia by the West, there is a book (embryo) of mine titled "The Rape Of Australia" .. research still very thin, but at the moment probably starting with the Hawke years..... a bit longer than twenty years in fact...

Got some good stuff for HTEWW gong back to the 1920's...
buby
7th Sep 2017
8:33pm
YEs MIKE, Your sure are right ab out that. Look how much has been Privitized. Many businesses, and our Utilities, HOW stupid were they to sell us out like that!!Shame shame Shame Turnbull. And ALL you Pollies that ran down this country, while many of us hunkered down and put our best foot forward and worked hard to fill your pockets while you milked US dry!! YEH NOT impressed And
MICK YOU certainly HIT that Nail ON the HEad.
GOOD luck with that BOOK Trebor, I'd like to read it when you finished lol. IF i'm NOT dead!!
TREBOR
7th Sep 2017
9:42pm
I might be there before I finish too - being a full-time carer I haven't written a word for months..... this has to change soon... I wrote more when I was living alone ...... one short story in a single day...
Placido
7th Sep 2017
11:55am
Old Geezer, Solar Thermal comes very close to Baseload, in fact if implemented correctly can give 24/7 power. California uses it and now South Australia is implementing it.

I believe the Solar/Thermal company won a competitive tender against coal and gas for this plant in SA.
Old Geezer
7th Sep 2017
2:54pm
Be alright until they get a week of bleak weather.
Eddy
7th Sep 2017
4:34pm
OG, solar panels work on ultraviolet which, unlike infra red, is unaffected by bleak weather. The limiting factor is the reduced hours of daylight in winter.
MICK
7th Sep 2017
4:45pm
And the other issue is that current panels with optimisers work on very low light, even shade. That is what is going onto my roof shortly. Read up on LG Neon2 335 Watt panels. What Turnbull talks about and is not happening here: innovation!
Old Geezer
7th Sep 2017
5:05pm
Good luck Mick but you may find that what the sales people tell you and what really happens with solar are two very different things. Have they told you they work in moonlight too?
MICK
7th Sep 2017
5:25pm
What would you know Geezer? You are a coal man aren't you?
I have had a small system for going on 9 years and the new panels are far far superior. I do not believe BS so please do not post this unless you have some FACTS. Sadly your side of politics has none.
buby
7th Sep 2017
8:37pm
But OLd Geezer, they have HEaps and HEaps of Wind farms over there, I saw them as i was travelling through down the southern coast. YOu could see them as far as the eye could see. HUndreds of them if the Sun won't help you produce the wind will.
Old Geezer
7th Sep 2017
10:19pm
....and if it is too windy or not enough wind on a bleak few days.
Old Geezer
7th Sep 2017
10:23pm
Unfortunately you can't get the wind to blow or the sun to shine without half an hour at the most to meet demand which is the time it take to bring up another unit in a coal fired power station.
Couldabeen
7th Sep 2017
11:15pm
This is for the benefit of buby. You are aware that 5 years in a row, SA and Victoria had periods of around 5 to 6 weeks during May-June where there was no generation from wind as there was no wind? When a big high pressure system moves in over the Bight and covers all the way to eastern Victoria, there just is no wind.
Now you will say "But I saw the blades turning, so there must've been wind." No, it is fatal to the bearings in a wind turbine for it to remain stationary for any period of time. When you see blades stationary, it is probable that there is maintenance being carried out. Then they throw a switch and the generator acts as a motor and keeps the blades moving. The manufacturers are reluctant to reveal how much power they draw in that mode, but safe to say that it is at least a couple of kilowatts.
Phil
7th Sep 2017
11:59am
I agree with one comment, power generation should be a commercial decision. Unfortunately taxpayer subsided renewable's have made maintain or building coal fired generators uneconomic. Likewise with just about every other option.

The push from the supporters of renewable's have created the mess were in now, no planning or thought of the consequences. Yes renewable's are a great idea but they should only have been phased in as the technology is capable of replacing base load power. At least the PM's Snowy Mountains expansion will go some way to making renewable's capable of providing base load power. A backup battery with maybe 10 minutes of supply like they are building in South Australia isn't going to keep the lights on.

The only winners out of this are the likes of AGL as they shut down their coal fired plants. Is it any wonder they don't want to keep the coal generators going, they have the taxpayer to fall back on.

If you want to start laying blame for things maybe you need to go to Kevin '07 the genesis for much of where we are now with renewable's.

Nobody is bathed in glory, all sides are responsible for the problems, everyone wanting to play politics while our once cheapest in the world electricity has become the most expensive in the world.

Only when the voting public flicks the switch and the lights don't come on will things start to change but we will already be a decade behind where we should be and most of our manufacturing and processing industries will be gone by then. This should be the single biggest issue in the country right now, a national imperative, but what is every politician talking about, Same Sex Marriage.
Wstaton
7th Sep 2017
12:58pm
I disagree.

There are certain things that are considered critical infrastructure and should never be sold off to private interests.

If the people owned power infrastructure was not sold off would we be in this situation. Would people owned company have looked towards the future and where things were going.

I believe it would. and put plans into place. Why? because they do not have to worry about profit although they should make a profit to fund progress.

Private companies are only concerned about profit and maximizing it.

In the glory days of the people owned power infrastructure everyone paid the same price for electricity wherever they were. No retailers pressing you to constantly change.

You may say that that government run infrastructure stifles innovation. Well CSIRO is owned by the people and look at the inovations that have come out out of that. (Even if the federal government is trying to stifle it)
Rae
7th Sep 2017
1:15pm
Yes and the Federal Government bribed the States to sell off taxpayer assets including the grid. I'm not sure if the money promised was ever paid though.

I personally do not want any of my tax dollars spent bailing out the private operators or used to build anything that will just then be sold to private corporations.

The private operators are responsible now. They should be updating or building new capacity if privatised is better.
MICK
7th Sep 2017
2:36pm
This is the government line Phil. Blame Labor for the mess it has created.
FYI almost 6 years of your government HAVE DONE NOTHING about this issue other than the constant coal propaganda and the blame game.
If you bothered to read my comments above you will see that I advocate MORE renewables, not less. We need panels on every roof generating energy. Takes care of baseload and then we work on batteries over the next few years or consider Katter's scheme in Queensland where daytime energy is used to fill huge elevated storage dams left over from the mining industry and then used for hydro generation at night. Brilliant.
Stop blaming those who have tried to make the transition and start blaming those who are behind what has happened.
TREBOR
7th Sep 2017
8:22pm
Correct Wstation, innovation is as innovation does - and the profit motive and need to pay shareholders and shiny arses on seats in a 'private' company are as much brakes on innovation as government bureaucratic lethargy...

When I worked for the CPS I didn't notice much in the way of lack of innovation - they rapidly moved to serious IT etc... policies are a different matter....
buby
10th Sep 2017
4:21am
Ok Mick great Idea i agree with you to PUT Panels on every Roof. But i don't own MY own Roof i have no jurisdiction over it and i don't have a say in it, which make it quiet difficult. My hands are tied if i owned my own home, which will never happen at this late stage of my life i fear. and i'm sure there are many in the same situation as i. so how can it happen when the rich get richer and nothing proper can be achieved???
ex PS
13th Sep 2017
10:45am
Good point buby, maybe the government should be ""encouraging"" property investors to put panels on roofs, maybe they can tie it to the right to access negative gearing. If all new buildings have to have panels, everyone would soon catch up. Of course new home buyers would pay the price, but it would be spread over so many tears it would be negligible.
Placido
7th Sep 2017
12:01pm
Mick,

You forget one thing in comparing us to India,

India is pushing education and technology, you find Indian IT people everywhere, they are not busy squashing educational opportunities and making it too expensive for our kids to be educated properly not like our "Adults" screwing Tafe, screwing regional transport and making Univerities too expensive.

I fear Bangladesh would be a better comparison of where we could end.
MICK
7th Sep 2017
1:01pm
Yeah but you sort of get where I was heading.
Captain
7th Sep 2017
2:54pm
Off topic, however, get rid of the political correct rubbish being taught in schools and go back to the basic 3 R's.

Perhaps the next generation may learn some common sense and get rid of the innovation stifling politicans like we have here today.

We need to push our current crop of dead-head politicans to do something for the people instead of for themselves, then maybe the next generation will have a chance of having a job and living a comfortable life. Buy back the people's rail, gas and electricity assets and bugger off the foreign purchasers.
MICK
7th Sep 2017
3:47pm
Missed the boat Captain. The assets are gone forever and our dead-head pollies will retire and have a wonderful life on their packages.
I keep saying we need more Independents. Real ones who care about the country unlike both sides of politics looking after their own worthless hides.
buby
10th Sep 2017
4:12am
Absolutely Captain I so agree with you there, but who is going to get the ball rolling, NObody Whats to take on that challenge it seems, NObody knows where to start. they all too scared about what will be said about them being inovative, and gutsy enough to go there?
YES MIck, they have screw the country over HOckey and his dead head mates, their pockets are loaded and at least some will retire in Luxury, while the rest Struggle. ITs enough to Make you sick to your stomach!!
buby
10th Sep 2017
4:12am
Absolutely Captain I so agree with you there, but who is going to get the ball rolling, NObody Whats to take on that challenge it seems, NObody knows where to start. they all too scared about what will be said about them being inovative, and gutsy enough to go there?
YES MIck, they have screw the country over HOckey and his dead head mates, their pockets are loaded and at least some will retire in Luxury, while the rest Struggle. ITs enough to Make you sick to your stomach!!
Placido
7th Sep 2017
12:05pm
While we continue to rubbish South Australia, please bear in mind that it was a LIBERAL "government" (I use the word loosely) that sold off ETSA and created the mess that Jay Weatherall inherited,

That is FACT not an alternate fact but a genuine non contestable FACT.
MICK
7th Sep 2017
1:03pm
I find it strange that a Labor premier in SA has bought battery storage on a big scale. The jury is still out but if this works as forecast then the right wing governments after his blood will crawl back where they belong, under their rocks.
Go SA. Can't wait to see real government working for the people. Murdoch is going to then have to mount an even larger propaganda campaign to convince our mentally challenged to elect the wrong government again.
Rae
7th Sep 2017
1:20pm
MICK the righties will always believe they know best and are best being given all the money as they manage it best. They won't help ordinary people because deep down there is the horrible belief that God willed the poor to suffer and they are going to make damned sure that the poor do suffer.

Two billion would go a long way towards subsidising home solar panels and batteries to make us self sufficient.

No money in that for the cronies though is there?
MICK
7th Sep 2017
2:38pm
I can handle the fact that righties follow their deadbeat Liberal Party like stooges but what gets up my nose is you give them the information and they then bleat coalition propaganda which is fabricated as a response. Are discussing idiots are are these people who are employees? That is a question I frequently ponder.
Rae
7th Sep 2017
3:11pm
Yes MICK and don't even know the difference between democratic socialism and communism but happily sell out to the Chinese People's Party. It's breathtaking.
tj
7th Sep 2017
6:32pm
Placido very conveniently omits the reason BEHIND the sale of ETSA
TREBOR
7th Sep 2017
8:28pm
Which was? Let me guess - it needed 'upgrading' and was 'run down' and "only" private enterprise could resolve that without massive influx of taxpayer funds??

So who the hell is paying for it all now? The non-taxpayers? The difference being that instead of paying a single organism without shareholders, fat ceo's and board members and duplicated staff all requiring fat super funds etc to pay out, they could have done it by raising prices to a much lower rate to cover the costs of government doing the job.

NOWHERE has 'private enterprise' fulfilled the promise of lower prices due to competition and efficiency - in EVERY example the costs to the end user have risen manifold....
ex PS
10th Sep 2017
4:55am
The real reason the government sells Assets, is they can often see price rises in the mix, and they don't want to be in the position of having to be the ones to take the blame. They are just shifting responsibility in order to save votes. They do not care how much it costs the voters as long as they don't cop the blame.
Hawkeye
11th Sep 2017
4:26pm
Placido,

I remember when I first moved to SA a week before the 1997 state election. The Lieberals under John Olsen (I've heard he was an ex-bankrupt car dealer) won the election on the mantra "WE WILL NOT SELL ETSA"

From memory, I think it was only a couple weeks after the election, the Olsen Lieberals announced they had CHANGED THEIR MINDS AND WERE NOW GOING TO SELL ETSA.
Within two years it was 51% bought by a Hong Kong billionaire for $3.5 billion (plus Olsen's cut, of course) and has been ripping-off the people of SA ever since.

Soon after, Olsen was facing a corruption inquiry about his SA Gov dealings with Motorola, and was finally forced to retire in disgrace in 2001

And we all thought Abbott was a blatant liar. I can only assume it's part of the Lieberal ideology.
Wstaton
7th Sep 2017
12:19pm
Well well well. talk about unintended consequences that governments today seem to be we versed in causing.

The seeds of all this was when the state governments started selling off all our power assets. (Ha! private companies can do it better and cheaper) here we are today with power prices becoming astronomical (yes gas as well) because of the stupidity of governments thinking that they can make a fast buck at the taxpayers expense. As far as Liddell goes (or should we call is fiddle) AGL crows that they bought it at a zero cost really when all the assets were taken into account. The NSW government reckon we got $1.5billion. See this:

http://reneweconomy.com.au/the-2000mw-coal-generator-the-nsw-government-sold-for-0-59474/

Now it looks as if the government may have to give money back to keep it going.

This selling off of everything has been a disaster in this country. I did an analysis what replace the single unit of the SECV in Victoria. (yep once again by a LNP government) It was replaced by more than 23 different entities from thos that bought power stations, those that bought the lines and all the retailers that try to say buy from us it's cheaper.

The thing that cheeses me off is that they do not learn. They are now down to the dregs of selling our assets off. One of the latest being the NSW goverment selling off the land title registry. Guess what! The Victorian government is trying to do the same saying they can spend the $2b on infrastructure. A person made a valid point against this. The Vic office makes $300million a year from it. In this low interest period they should take a loan for the $2b over 10years and use the some of the $300 million to pay it off. Guess what at the end of 10 years we still own the lands Title Office. Amazing isn't it.

And guess what a company will do who may buy it. Cull the staff, sell any assets they deem not needed and finally (yep like electricity) Up the prices.

As I said these governments never learn.
Rae
7th Sep 2017
1:29pm
The worst consequence of the Title office sales will be the need for us to pay for title insurance and if the idea of land taxes gets up the cost to the private owners for government title checks.

A very stupid sale indeed.

NSW also spent $16 billion to prepare the grid for that piddling sale so we actually lost tax dollars.

The right wing are very good at spending our money on their businesses , building pointless toll roads and football stadiums.

Have they actually done anything useful for you because I can't think of one benefit to my life in decades.
MICK
7th Sep 2017
2:40pm
I said as much above Wstaton. No different to you or I. Flog off everything of value and you become destitute. A country will follow the same path. Our is almost there. Give it another century and our descendents will be there.
Weary
7th Sep 2017
12:54pm
Another point, we are only twenty four million people with considerably less consumers paying the bills. Do we really need sixty five retailers, each with their own CEO's, Managers, Staff, Rents, Advertising costs etc. None of which add any value to the product they are selling.
Rae
7th Sep 2017
1:34pm
Yep over paid billing companies in an age of the computer. The suppliers even read the meters for them. It's insane.
TREBOR
7th Sep 2017
8:34pm
Got it, Weary - I've been saying that for some time now - this small nation with a workforce of 12 million simply cannot sustain that kind of corporate vulturism of everything used to go to work and live.

You can't spread the cost of power or gas over 240 million - only over that 12 million.

I labeled it "workforce infrastructure" and likened the current situation to a scaffold structure with a heavy superstructure, and the poles in the scaffold steadling being made thinner and thinner.... inevitably the whole thing will collapse.

I once worked for a company that had 120 workers and 60 office/management staff.... I said that at that rate it was bound to turn turtle in the first storm - guess what? It turned turtle in the first storm.
DC
7th Sep 2017
12:54pm
Hi Mick, love your comments, as always but unless you actually invested in a battery pack and transfer switch etc that disconnects you from the grid, your $13000 solar panel array will do Jack-Shit when the power from the grid fails.
That is the problem we have at the moment. All the talk about renewables securing our energy future is just bull dust, at least for the foreseeable future.
Wstaton
7th Sep 2017
1:18pm
So invest in a battery pack. The price of electricity is going to continue to go up as the cost of batteries start going down even further.

Lets look at some bulldust predictions:

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
Thomas Watson, president of IBM, 1943

"Television won't be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night."
Darryl Zanuck, executive at 20th Century Fox, 1946

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977

"Almost all of the many predictions now being made about 1996 hinge on the Internet's continuing exponential growth. But I predict the Internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse."
Robert Metcalfe, founder of 3Com, 1995

What is bulldust?
MICK
7th Sep 2017
2:47pm
Here is how I look at it DC:

1. I produce will produce more than enough energy to fulfill my daytime needs as well as excess back into the grid which takes pressure off the grid. You may well be using my energy over summer when you switch on your AC.
2. energy I put back into the grid returns some of my investment.
3. as electricity prices keep going up I will be ahead.

Ok, the thorn in my side:

1. I wanted a battery but currently too expensive. I have been told that there will be a battery price war in the next year and prices will fall.
2. When prices of batteries drop I will put on a smaller one. This will allow me to keep producing in a blackout and also for a few hours of a night in peak tariff times.

Its not a perfect world and renewables have a ways to go. Before you slag me off hold fire until South Australia starts using batteries. That's when the game will change dramatically. I hope to be well on that wave by then. Good luck to you if you are paying closer to $1 per kWh. I won't be.
DC
7th Sep 2017
4:28pm
Hi Mick, sorry but I was not really disagreeing with you re the renewables, just about the fact that at this point in time they alone cannot cover foreshadowed energy requirements. In a few years time maybe, although in the meantime we are cornered. Who did what when or not is neither here nor there, it is now and the next few years that matter.
Yes, battery systems are still way too expensive and spending thousands of dollars for a few hours backup is not really going to cut it either. Oh, by the way I won't be using your electricity as I had my own solar system installed a few years back when premium paybacks were still promoted. So I am already ahead.
MICK
7th Sep 2017
4:39pm
Yeah, I sort of push the renewables barrow but also have both feet on the ground. What really got up my nose is that the nation was sold out by Howard when he allowed our wonderful gas reserves to go lock stock and barrel to offshore investors. Now that we need this to sustain the changeover period we have none. Welcome to Australia with its right wing governments doing business for their own and selling out the country. Could (almost) make a man want to become a kiwi....at least we'd be winning the rugby. Chuckle.
ex PS
10th Sep 2017
5:08am
D.C, you need to look at your figures, a 5 kW solar system will cost you about $5,000.00 these days, if you were to pay the amount you suggest you would be close to buying a system with a battery pack. And of course that would mean you could afford to buy as much of Jack,s shit as you want to.
Maybe we also have to look at what companies buy excess Solar Energy back into the grid for and what they sell it on for. I am happy with my contract as it was signed at .44 cents but I believe some consumers are getting much less than what it is worth. It costs the power companies nothing to produce, they have no maintenance costs other than the poles and wires which I believe are covered by an access charge, so why are they not paying a fair price for the power going back into the grid?
Funny how when selling power it is a free market where profit for investment is essential but buying it is not.
Rosret
7th Sep 2017
1:11pm
Gosh - who wrote this? Its wrong and its "green" biased.
Do you want to know what is happening or do you want to fly the pious green flag and be totally unaware of the economy, the nations security and the conglomerate individual's well being.
1. The government is pouring billions of your tax dollars into renewable energy.
2. It is promoting CLEAN coal energy generation.
3. It is working toward and promoting appliances using less energy.
4. Not all energy generators produce the same volume of power. Its one thing to keep a fridge chugging its another to keep the wheels of industry turning.
5. The government is working on transitioning to renewables but not at the expense of bringing the nation to its knees.
6. SUCCESSIVE governments privatised the energy companies to foreign ownership and they are neither interested in the upgrade of the industry or how much they think the average Australian can afford. They want profits.
7. Industry needs power. We can look all pretty and clean in our manicured garden and home but the moment you buy just one item stamped "made in China" you are happy to outsource your slave labour, be blind to their pollution standards and are hypocritically and ignorantly going to meet with an economic downturn in the very near future.
8. When the electric bills become untenable for the lower incomes (not getting government reimbursement) they will return to fossil fuel as they have in countries like Russia. Back will come the asthma and bronchitis and the air will become filled with smoke again.
So stop playing political football with a squishy green ball and THINK!
Raphael
7th Sep 2017
1:30pm
Unfortunately - the ostrich Green and labor supporters don't want to hear the truth
MICK
7th Sep 2017
3:32pm
Rosret: I think you are missing the whole point. Whilst all of what you say is correct we cannot stay on coal. That become perfectly clear when I was in Europe and Japan in 2015 and the air pollution did not even consider the huge changes we are bringing about on the planet.
Just like cars replaced the horse and buggy so too will renewables replace coal. This is already well under way and the coal industry is powerless to stop it despite throwing billions of dollars in trying to do so.
We all need to understand that the change will involve inconvenience and there will be some pain. Had the coalition governments we have had foisted on us actually done other than pander to their electoral donating coal industry then we would not be in the current state. Now they blame Labor and the online trolls mimic the same BS as though it were fact.
I am for doing something. Coal has to go. Sorry if that does not gel but that is the reality.
TREBOR
7th Sep 2017
8:45pm
Said it before several times - in every infrastructure start-up, the initial costs are the highest , and should properly be spread over a long-term business plan rather than being recouped immediately.

ONLY when the infrastructure is in place and operating do the real costs of actual productions begin and economies of scale being to affect daily costs (or whatever time period you wish to review) - and at that point the actual production cost is far lower than the start-up cost - and thus the price should fall....

It does not for two reasons:-

1. By acclimatising the end user to the higher cost of start-up, the companies involved then retain those costs as their yardstick for pricing and maintain high prices through the life of the production cycle.

2. They do that purely for profit and because fundamentally they have not worked to a long-range business plan, but are in it for 'ram raid' or 'smash and grab' profiteering.

That is one reason such things as power and gas and renewables would be better handled by government alone, since it would work to a long-range plan, as the Snowy Scheme did, and not just a grab for profit. That is why the US tax system allows a two year window for new businesses to get up and going....

Compare this to a business producing a new product - it's start-up costs are huge, but its prices begin low so as to promote the product.... and it is only gradually that prices on the floor rise in connection with demand and user spending/purchasing power - and the pricing is arranged to cover a long term and not the short term.

The opposite is the case with 'privatised' "ventures' here in Australia, which consistently start high and kick prices up at every opportunity. Why? Because they have a captive market in power, gas and roads etc....

That is one clear reason why I savagely criticise the current style of business 'management' and utterly oppose governments that sell out this nation and its resources... which, in the end run, means selling out its major resource - its people.
TREBOR
7th Sep 2017
9:52pm
For a good example - look at the price of flat screen TVs - huge at the beginning (contrary to what I said above about low prices to attract the market, but this is a very special issue and the market was limited in supply at the outset), but as time went by cheaper and cheaper....

Now if the original pricing structure had remained, not as many TVs would be sold,and the companies have to orgnise their pricing structure to suit the market - as I said - with power, gas, roads and such - they have a captive market - using those things is NOT discretionary - and thus they are able to price themselves to the sky if they want, without regard for the flow-on effects across the economy, of rising costs of living causing rising upward pressure on incomes in a never ending spiral to the inevitable stall....

That is why, rather than prices going down with more people using a toll road,m for example, they go up - the market is a prisoner to the use of the roads and has little to no real choice. Governments saw to that when they began stop signing and no right turning streets that functioned off the 'motorways', and allowed alternative routes to deteriorate. That began in the early 1980's.... under the disguise that they were making those alternative streets more 'ecologically and community-wise friendly' ...

Anyone recall the 'rat runners' campaign by government and media when people insisted on using alternative routes to the pay-to-Nick-Greiner-retirement-scheme-private M.4?
Rosret
8th Sep 2017
7:54pm
Mick coal power stations will go just like petrol cars. However if we pulled all the petrol driven cars off the road tomorrow we would have a nation in total collapse.
You can't pull the plug on an existing system until a new system is fully up an running. I am not being backward thinking or unconcerned about pollution.
Other countries have their ships sitting like an armada off our coastline waiting to load our coal to fuel their industries while our industries are all closing down because we can't complete economically.
Australian coal is still polluting the world - just not in our back yard.
ex PS
10th Sep 2017
5:19am
Rosret, I don't think any sane person would argue with your critique about phasing in new technology. But in the case of this government, it is more a case of ignoring new technology and trying to pretend it is not relevant. Doing nothing is not planning for integration. An alternative system will not just appear overnight like a mushroom, it has to be built.
People keep criticizing this government for not looking ahead, but in this case they are wrong, they looked into the future and saw the possibility of losing all that lovely money from coal and oil revenues. They saw it as a problem that would make them have to work harder to bring the national debt down, so they chose to put the breaks on green energy production.
This way their debt is abated and the tax payers get to foot the bill. They may have no moral principles but they do have a good sense of self preservation.
Nick
7th Sep 2017
1:21pm
You can't simply compare investing in Snowy pumped hydro (directed at peak load) with extending baseload coal fired power. To support both projects is entirely sensible and the only cost-viable alternative to coal baseload at present is gas or nuclear.
The South Australian experience shows the hazards in over-reliance on solar and wind. When these are prepoerly costed to include sufficient backup storage for times of no sun or no wind, they will have very high $/kwh costs.
A major factor in high electricity and high gas prices today is the failure of the Queensland and Federal Government in about 2010 to insist on a domestic reserve of 15% gas for the three new Gladstone LNG projects.
Gas and electricity supply is a national problem the solution for which must over-ride the self-interests of the states. And also the self-interests of the private companies who now run the electricity systems - again a result of self-interested state governments selling these out to bolster their coffers without contractually mandating appropriate community protections, so allowing companies like AGL to simply shutdown a major power provider.
Is it AGL's responsibility to decide their business plans on their environmental perception to no longer use coal without considering the national interests of such a move?
Wstaton
7th Sep 2017
1:32pm
Nick as far as I understand and what was reported is that the last power outage was caused by the grid lines falling down during a storm.

Am I dumb or not but power stations also rely on the grid to deliver electricity.
Rae
7th Sep 2017
1:45pm
Yes our grid lines in NSW went down in a storm and we had no power for 6 days in this region. My daughter's power took two weeks to reconnect.

It wasn't reported though because NSW was negotiating the sale at the time. Yet the MSM carried on a treat about the outage in SA.

AUSGRID were amazing but I seriously doubt we will be reconnected as quickly after the next storm now countless suppliers and retailers are involved and the maintenance crews redundant. I doubt the workers in Manila will be much help.

I've stocked up on wood and kerosene lights and even resurrected grandpa's kerosene stove. I have no faith in the government at all.
MICK
7th Sep 2017
3:33pm
Actually the South AUstralian experience shows the effect of climate change blowing over electricity towers. Nothing to do with green energy Nick.
Nick
7th Sep 2017
5:28pm
Indeed I recall that was the conclusion of an investigation - that the blackouts were a resuilt of the transmission towers being blown over.

However the need for wind and solar to have a backup when no wind / no sun is very self evident and the battery backup being put in by Musk at the requirement of the SA government is a clear indication of this problem.

Even this, as I understand it, is only a limited system to provide backup power to fill the short time space until alternate backup generation such as gas fired power or Turnbull's pumped storage power can take over. It is not a battery that will supply power for many hours while waiting for wind to blow again.

Without such backup, the grid has to keep twice as much generation capacity as is required by the consumers but only at 50% utilisation - uneconomic all round.

If you use solar with battery backup, you not only need a battery with capacity to run during the night but need twice as much solar panels area to be able to charge them whilst still supplying the daylight power needs.
Sceptic
7th Sep 2017
1:24pm
I guess that you would not expect anything different from a site in thrall to the far left GetUp. Just as it would be insane to expect otherwise than most of the contributors also spout left wing propaganda. The chickens are now coming home to roost with the increasing renewable and unreliable and heavily subsidised power. We now have the madness where because of the subsidies to encourage renewable power, the cheap fosil fuesls
Sceptic
7th Sep 2017
1:28pm
Damn - hit the wrong key.

As i was saying, We now have the madness where because of the subsidies to encourage renewable power, the cheap fossil fuels that were made uneconomical to maintain because of those same subsidies now need subsidies to continue to provide baseload power.

Every Government since Kevin Rudd's greatest challenge statement, is culpable of ignoring the obvious. This is not a statement after the even, as many have been sating the same since then.
Lookfar
7th Sep 2017
2:35pm
Anyone claiming Australia should build Nuclear Power Stations without looking at What has happened in America is operating on false information, so all that they argue is also false.
Further proof if any was needed is the claim that Renewables are more expensive than coal, gas or Nuclear when in fact both wind and Solar are the cheapest. You not only hit the wrong key Skeptic but on every point you are incorrect. - That doesn't help anyone.
Times have changed, we all need to ascertain the real situation and when we find we are wrong, change also.
MICK
7th Sep 2017
3:36pm
Leftwing propaganda Sceptic? So what do you espouse?
You do not argue the FACTS Sceptic but prefer to run the political lies from the right. That is your idea of informed debate: demonise Labor and everybody who posts valid arguments and put up propaganda yourself. Sad.
I suggest when this revolution is done YOU do not use green energy and demand coal fired power. You deserve it.
Couldabeen
7th Sep 2017
6:54pm
Lookfar, if wind and solar are the cheapest, why do they have such excessive subsidies? Typically around $70/Mw. Plus with the wind turbines, in Queensland one new farm will be receiving $200,000 per annum per turbine in State Government subsidies.
Coal, on the other hand receives neither any subsidies nor guarantied purchase of power generated.
All solar and wind electricity generation farms have all of the power that they produce purchased regardless if it is used or even needed into the Grid.
I'm not sure what you are alluding to about the nuclear power in America.
TREBOR
7th Sep 2017
8:48pm
We have a messenger down... Messenger down... request dustoff...
Raphael
7th Sep 2017
1:28pm
Blame the idiot greenies and labor for this mess.
Going to buy more power company shares today :)
Rae
7th Sep 2017
1:52pm
Do you think Origin will ever pay a dividend again?
Wstaton
7th Sep 2017
1:52pm
A good contributing comment.
Raphael
7th Sep 2017
2:01pm
Up 15% in a month

Good enough for me
Old Geezer
7th Sep 2017
3:02pm
If it paid a dividend I might of looked at it above $8.
Rae
7th Sep 2017
3:16pm
I bought Origin years ago and bought into dips. I 'm annoyed about the dividend though as it paid 60% of my annual power bill.

I bought it to eventually pay for electricity and hope they sort out the mess they are in.
Captain
7th Sep 2017
3:31pm
A waste of money to buy after a 15% increase in a month.
Old Geezer
7th Sep 2017
3:35pm
I sold mine when they were $14 . I was going to buy them back at $9 but they didn't tick up enough and kept heading south. Looked at $6 but they gapped up and didn't retrace to breakout for a buy.
MICK
7th Sep 2017
3:39pm
Typical Raphael comment. Blame everybody other than the mob who have been in power for the last 6 years. Looked at the debt lately? "You have electricity prices because of the Carbon Tax"? Remember?
You might one day want to stop being a stooge Raphael and actually do some reading and educate yourself. That would be a miracle.
Raphael
7th Sep 2017
3:44pm
Micky old boy - its your greenie idealogy which the labor mongrels also latched on to win votes thats has caused electricity prices to soar.
Why would any power company invest in cheap fossil power generation when you lefties penalise good business sense
MICK
7th Sep 2017
4:07pm
Greg Hunt: "You have high electricity prices because of the Carbon Tax". Remember that one? What say you?
The mongrels you refer to is the current government with the most malicious twisted front bench I have ever seen.
As for being a greeny I guess I have become such. I care about the future whilst you care not one iota. By all means support your coal industry buddies but maybe when coal is dead buy up the assets and make your own energy. No good using that "green" stuff is it.
The only reason power prices are soaring is what your lot have not done. After seeing 22 coal fired generators close supply and demand is making a nice living for the remaining ones who are hiking up prices and screwing consumers....but I guess this is an inconvenient fact.
How about actually doing something for once other than spruiking your right wing lies on this website. Put up or shut up.
Wstaton
7th Sep 2017
4:09pm
I don!t think reading will make any difference Mick
Raphael
7th Sep 2017
4:38pm
see my post below Micky . You on the other hand have no solution.
I am giving you the solution. Its staring you in the face.
Stupid greenies and labor prefer short term (person) gain instead of long term solutions
MICK
7th Sep 2017
5:01pm
Typical response from those who have created the problem Raphael. Destroying anything renewable might have been suitable for your man Abbott but what now? No answer. As normal. Only more recriminations to shift the blame.

What we now seeing is your government scrambling to retain government, but the chickens have come home to roost. Crow all the normal :="greenies" and "Labor" rubbish you like but make no mistake about WHO has caused this. Your deadbeat governments who have hocked up the nation with not one decent project to show other than tax cuts for the rich. Useless bunch of misfits!
TREBOR
7th Sep 2017
8:49pm
Up 15% - they don't need a price rise then....

7th Sep 2017
3:41pm
The captain of the good ship Australia is asleep at the wheel. The Li(e)berals are terrible at economic and infrastructural management: they are complete bunglers. Kick these bums out at the next election. Mandate the ALP to cap energy prices.
Raphael
7th Sep 2017
3:45pm
haha - labor and greens couldnt run a piss up in brothel or a organise a root in a brewery.
And vice versa
Anonymous
7th Sep 2017
3:58pm
Rubbish, Raphael. Your comment applies to the LNP, not the ALP. Remember, it was the ALP who set up Medicare and all major Australian infrastructure since WW2. Your Li(e)berals are deabeats pandering to the rich.
Raphael
7th Sep 2017
4:32pm
Cap energy prices ?
Typical nonsensical lefty response.

You will make the problem worse my friend
MICK
7th Sep 2017
5:02pm
You have a double dose of it today Raphael. Your blame game is all you and your government can ever do.

7th Sep 2017
3:55pm
One type of energy generation I've not seen mentioned here is tidal power. Given the huge tides off northern WA and the Gulf of Carpentaria, this would be an ideal source of energy that could be sent to the energy-needy southern states. It could also supplement solar and thermal power-sources. Also, thorium reactors are being researched (by the Chinese), and these would be able to use nuclear waste as fuel - solving another problem...
Couldabeen
7th Sep 2017
7:09pm
There is a good reason that you haven't seen much about wave and tidal power and that is because it doesn't work. It is full of promise and there have been tens of millions of your money (Tax money) poured into projects around Australia and internationally. Most of these have ended up as rusting scrap metal.
The locations that you have suggested make no sense as there is neither the population nor the industry to justify it. The Grid network that would be required to connect it is completely unaffordable and if the toppling of the transmission towers in SA this time last year is any indication, it would be quite difficult to build an extensive connection in cyclone country.
Nuclear is the only light across the valley that has proven performance. Thorium, for reasons that I have not heard, fails to inspire confidence in investors and is no closer than speculators sketches.
Old Man
7th Sep 2017
3:59pm
We can pontificate and lay blame on whoever we choose to dislike when the truth is that governments of all sizes and persuasions have contributed to the electricity crisis. Some may be to blame in some areas more than others but to whine about what caused the problem isn't doing anything to fix it and is a complete waste of energy.

We need a base load certainty and for this we need to build more power stations to replace those that have closed. To get these built, we need some politicians, (I don't give a stuff which side), to stand up and show some guts. What we have is a group of politicians frightened of their own shadow who will jump to the tune of the vocal minority. The last time power stations were built was when Wran was Premier of NSW and held a healthy majority. The backlash for his decision reduced his majority but still allowed his Labor government to stay in power. Since that time, politicians have become gun shy and want to escape the criticism that will surely follow a decision to build a power station.

It matter little to the majority of voters how a power station needs to be powered, by one of coal, gas or nuclear, but it does matter when electricity and gas prices become unreasonable. Australians have a laid back reputation and a part of that is that they don't complain a lot. The vocal minority is the group that is making all of the running in this ideological battle of getting rid of all non renewables and we, the majority, are not doing a lot about it. Those who shout the loudest are being heard by our gutless politicians who believe that they are hearing the will of the people when nothing could be further from the truth.

I've had a gutful of the bleeding hearts who want to run my life using their ideas. The ones who disrupt others by using unlawful tactics and then getting off in the court systems with a slap on the wrist. They chain themselves to essential machinery, stopping honest workers from doing what they are paid to do and escape any sanctions because a lot of them are rent-a-crowd types who do all of these things as their life's work. I'm sick of people getting off having convictions recorded because it may affect their future employment or travel plans. Let the law be administered equally to all.

I want to see more power stations, upgrading of those which have reached an economical end, gas exploration to enable more gas to become available and regulations on those private companies which own our essential services. It seems that they are about to hold the country to ransom by announcing closures and claiming the high ground by their statements about being against coal. Banks should be allowed to be able to lend to whichever company can prove that they have assets to support an advance and an ability to repay without some green supporting group demanding that everyone stops dealing with them. I care little about the past as my power bills for that period have been met but I am concerned that this country, with vast resources, may become similar to a third world nation as regards a lack of power and costs forcing people to suffer.
Wstaton
7th Sep 2017
4:16pm
Unfortunately Old Man all we can do is whine. We seem to have very little power to do anything except vote in governments who lately seem to say they are going to do something then completely turn about face and do the opposite.

What are we to do? Have a revolution. Resolute to what!
Old Man
7th Sep 2017
4:42pm
How right you are Wstaton and I've just wasted a part of my life bleating about a problem that nobody will fix. When the most important thing that the opposition can talk about is the Constitution and the government is rabbitting on about a postal vote (non-binding, non- compulsory) what chance do any of us have with the major problems.
MICK
7th Sep 2017
5:08pm
Spot on OM. I wrote to Shorten and told him I believed he would throw the election if he did not focus on real issues rather than homosexual marriage. Talk about betting it all on one nonsense issue.

As regards new power generators I ask you if you would buy a new V8 car if there were solar cars starting to come online? I wouldn't.
The trouble with spending possibly $5 billion per generator is that they would likely be worthless assets well before they had reached their use by date. But then this is Australia where things like that do not apparently matter a real lot.
Old Man
7th Sep 2017
5:32pm
No MICK, I would not buy a V8 if solar cars were able to do all that a V8 can do, including travelling 1000km without needing to refuel and when refuelling was needed, didn't take 8 hours. Maybe a solar car might be OK for city work. It's the same as when we bought our current car, it came with one of those useless motorcycle size wheels where you can only use them for 80km @ no more than 80kph. Good for city work but not much help in the middle of the Hay Plain. The dealer gave us a proper wheel and tyre at no extra cost to seal the deal.

Solar, wind, thermal and all of the other ideas may eventually work but we don't have the technology at present to make them work without a base load. SA has lost its base load power, Victoria has reduced its base load by 20% and the pressure is now on NSW to supply the shortfall.

Speaking of useless assets, want to talk about desalination plants that had to be built because the rain that would fall wouldn't be able to fill the dams?
George
7th Sep 2017
10:45pm
I share your frustration, OM, with the debate mostly focused on "left vs right" thinking with restricted ideas as a result. The Govts of both sides have badly failed us (amazed how we are a major exporter of Coal & Gas but don't use these enough for our own use) - Labor focused on renewables, and Liberals focused on privatisation. We have all had a gutful and need independent thinkers as our leaders - maybe a Trump-like alternative & strong leader. A list of action ideas, free from ideology, follows:

a) Build new Coal-fired power stations wherever needed urgently, else stop shutting down existing ones,

b) Take back / nationalise control of all Gas ownership for local use before allowing any exports,

c) Re-nationalise Electricity production & supply,

d) Put a annual cap (CPI max) on Electricity price increases, and

e) At the next election, we should vote out all sitting Liberal, Labor and Greens in Federal & State seats - by putting them last in preferences. Hopefully, fresh faces will bring fresh thinking.
micreen
7th Sep 2017
4:08pm
We are all paying far too much for electricity. The market is driven by greed and NSW government is in the middle of it all and benefits from any increase. Remember they only sold 1/2 of the grid, so they are just as liable as greedy shareholders. Ironic adverts depicting Japanese power stations operating clean on our coal ! Why cant we do the same ??? As for competition driving down prices, BS, cartels including NSW government drive up prices !!
What a fiasco, dumb politicians out of their league, Playing with themselves, looking after their pensions.
Old Geezer
7th Sep 2017
4:15pm
Electricity production in this country is being run by the minority who think that dirty fossil fuels are worse than paying a lot of money for electricity. If only they would just stop using it instead and live like caveman.
MICK
7th Sep 2017
5:12pm
There is more than money in life Geezer. Destroying the planet has an unimaginable cost but you seem to be focussing on your bank account and ignoring the bigger picture. Having said that renewable energy has become cheaper than coal but this is seldom talked about.
The future is not as bleak as coal trolls make out. We are transitioning and need to NOT listen to the coal industry preaching its doom and gloom to keep us in the foal.
Raphael
7th Sep 2017
5:15pm
then Micky boy, stop whinging about high power prices.
save the planet and stick with high prices.
Old Geezer
7th Sep 2017
10:29pm
Well Mick that is not what the media are telling us with umpteen stories about power being unaffordable today. Sounds to me like money is more important to most people than the furphy of saving the planet by not burning fossil fuels. Decades of trying to save the planet is extinguished by just one volcano eruption.

I have to laugh in that every campsite I have been to lately has wood fires burning yet people are so against using coal to produce power.
floss
7th Sep 2017
4:14pm
Can we afford M.Turnbull we can't.
Old Geezer
7th Sep 2017
4:19pm
Well we certainly can't afford a Labor government.
MICK
7th Sep 2017
5:14pm
Really Geezer? Can you tell me what projects have produced anything over the past 5 years where the coalition has removed the debt ceiling and more than doubled the debt?
I suspect we can't afford the current batch who abuse entitlements and waste our money as if it is theirs to squander.
Old Geezer
7th Sep 2017
10:17pm
If Labor hadn't left behind so many time bombs without the revenue to support them we would be in surplus now. Imagine what would of happened if the government hadn't been reigning in expenditure after Labor spending like a drunken sailor. Things like Gonski, NDIS etc which are a waste of taxpayers money.

It was good to see something done about millionaire pensioner couples getting the OAP they didn't need but was only nice to have.

Nice to see them stimulate the economy by cutting company tax and the shifting of the tax threshold for middle income earners. Also it was great to see all that data matching between Centrelink and the tax office and also the sale of land.
Rainey
8th Sep 2017
6:19am
What a load of biased crap, OG! It was Howard and Costello who blew the surplus and left behind a host of time bombs - obligations to continue over-indulging the rich long after tax revenue fell as a result of the surplus ending. 80% of handouts and tax concessions legislated by the Howard-Costello government went to the wealthiest 20% of the nation, and it was that over-indulgence of the greedy that blew the surplus and left the nation I'm debt. Now this government is doing the same - giving more to those who already have the most and starving those whose additional spending would stimulate economic growth.
Raphael
7th Sep 2017
4:25pm
The time to introduce nuclear power generation has come. We need to diversify our energy sources.
Nuclear is the most cost effective option by far
We need fossil, nuclear and renewable. Its not either or.
The greenies and labor can go jump. They care nothing for australians or the environment, Its all about votes and getting into power for these low lifes
Raphael
7th Sep 2017
4:30pm
PS - and remove all government legislation and subsidies
You will see significant investment in power plants of all types and huge price benefits to consumers
MICK
7th Sep 2017
5:16pm
Hope you do not live near the beach. When your house is hit by violent storms you'll be at the front of the compensation queue methinks. Then tell the assessors your view on coal fired power. Would love to see your face when they say your damage is self inflicted and you are left to your devices.
Lookfar
8th Sep 2017
3:14pm
Raphael, Nuclear has failed unless there are no safety regs, but no safety regs is tantamount to suicide, and even then more expensive than Solar, and baseload is last weeks fish, no-one can even give a definition. - look at the following article on Solar, conservative organisations try to keep the dice loaded..
http://www.theenergycollective.com/felix-creutzig/2412050/solar-keeps-underestimated
Couldabeen
8th Sep 2017
3:58pm
Lookfar, I'm not quite sure what you are saying here as you aren't quite making sense.
Nuclear has not failed, in fact it has been a brilliant success. Globally it has proven to be the safest and most reliable form of electricity generation so far invented. On terrawatts of power generated it has the safest, cleanest and most reliable record in over 50 years of service.
It is tightly regulated, to a greater extent that any other form of power generation.
I'm not sure about your lack of understanding of "baseload". I have noticed that in several renewable forums there is a complete lack of understanding that "baseload" is an essential component of any supply of electricity. Just to cover it again, it is that level of power that is deemed essential for the safe functioning of the community. It's the amount of power that must be there 24 hours of every day. It does include such loads as the domestic refrigerators and health devices. Safety systems including traffic lights and essential services communications networks. It's a load that never goes away and can not be met by the variability of wind nor the intermittency of solar. No storage system offered thus far to the market completely fills the gap.
The link that you gave is interesting but not of great use. Firstly it admits to have a "decarbonising" of the economy as a primary goal and can therefore not be regarded as unbiased. Where they discuss the fact that in some markets solar has been able to offer power at as little as 70% of the cost of coal, they also fail to acknowledge that this power cannot always be available when the market actually needs it. Something that both coal and nuclear can do.
floss
7th Sep 2017
4:37pm
It is all about base load using gas ,sorry we sent it all over seas and Malcolm has not got the guts to get it back. Sorry Raphael your greed is showing again.
Raphael
7th Sep 2017
4:39pm
We sent ot overseas because your useless lefty government wont let us use it here without severe financial penalties.
Sorry floss - but your ignorance is showing again
MICK
7th Sep 2017
5:18pm
Actually Howard let it go and Turnbull does not have the guts to legislate some for Australians. No proper government would sell off 100% to offshore investors. Howard did. This is what we get from the right which is now doing the same with our farming land.= and I can see the same lament when Australians go hungry in the future.
floss
7th Sep 2017
4:44pm
OG are starting to sound like our parrot hope you don't fall off your perch.
Old Geezer
7th Sep 2017
5:02pm
My feet are firmly planted on the ground and perch are way too smelly to sit on.
MICK
7th Sep 2017
5:20pm
Pretty spot on floss. I can't believe some of the tripe our right wing stoolies come up with. All blame and no facts. Of course they cannot cite facts because they have no positive news. Only deceit and sell out of the nation. I'd better put the violin away today.
Raphael
7th Sep 2017
5:22pm
Yes Mick. Time to take your pills and snooze off to la la land with your greenie and labor mates
floss
7th Sep 2017
5:07pm
Wake up Raphael the Libs are in power why don't they fix the power problem after all it is their greedy mates that are causing them mess.
MICK
7th Sep 2017
5:22pm
Correct. No answers. No guts. And unable to act against the interests of their mates who donate money into the Liberal Party election chest.
Raphael
7th Sep 2017
6:20pm
I have always been fascinated by how the left wing brain thinks.
Never mind sound economic theory, never mind how intervention upsets market equilibrium and stifles growth, never mind artificial redistribution of wealth actually widens income and wealth equity in the long term
It's all gimme gimme gimme immediate satisfaction and bugger the future
Rainey
9th Sep 2017
1:54am
Agree, Raphael, but equally I've always been fascinated by how the right wing brain thinks: give huge obscene handouts to the rich and boost salaries for the inept to six times the wages of the workers who keep society functioning, while crushing the working and middle class and torturing and slandering the sick, disabled and disadvantaged - then wonder why we have problems with poverty, addiction, crime and mental illness. Ramble on about how wealth ''trickles down'', knowing full well that every extra dollar paid to the rich is hoarded in tax havens because those who benefit don't have anything left to spend on. Hand out more tax concessions to those who, despite their wealth, pay bugger-all anyway because they use every trick in the book to avoid their obligations, then wonder why there's a huge debt and deficit. Keep trying to bleed stones to pay the debt down and wonder why people arc up in response.

It's gimme gimme gimme a million times more than I could ever need or use, and bugger not just the future but the present society.
Wstaton
9th Sep 2017
10:04am
Ha! Rainey you must be talking about our politicians when you mention the inept earning 6 times the salary than the average worker.
Wstaton
9th Sep 2017
10:13am
Yes Rainey I did a free online course at cuter learn tha showed that som of the highest rates of crime and drug use were in those countries where there was the highest level of inequality is. Guess who was it the top of the lis. USA. It also showed that Australia was rapidly catching up.

Those with the least we're countries like Japan, Scandinavian countries.
Rae
10th Sep 2017
11:29am
With the right wingers giving tax cuts to all earning above $80 000 it's not surprising prices are edging up quickly.

I just hope they get real with the CPI now and include the items we buy instead of some make believe list of things.

The tax cuts for the well off are certainly boosting the economy.
ex PS
10th Sep 2017
12:56pm
Best to be right wing, you don't have to think for yourself, just follow the doctrine and hope that those in power feel fit to scatter some crumbs your way.
floss
7th Sep 2017
6:41pm
Raphael as to power and many things Mick speaks from the heart you speak as most Libs do straight from the back pocket. Try thinking about our country not your wallet.
Raphael
7th Sep 2017
7:33pm
I rest my case
TREBOR
7th Sep 2017
8:52pm
Does it contain an IED? Don't rest it near me....
Couldabeen
7th Sep 2017
7:39pm
The problem that Australia now faces with regard to affordable and reliable high quality electricity lies fairly and squarely at the feet of the Rudd/Gillard incompetence. Whether they initiated or not, they drove the push into renewable power sources before they were fit for purpose, but done in such a way that they made coal a despised unwanted supplier.
The RETs have destroyed any incentive for investment in industry in Australia as no State can ensure reliable power to a high enough quantity to be able to run a business.
AGL are not in the business of generating electricity but in making money for their owners and share holders.
As it stands, they are paid for every Watt of power that is generated at all of their wind and solar farms, regardless of whether it is actually used or needed in the Grid. Due to the physics of large generators and steam production, a coal burning station must be kept hot and live at all times. There will be times where not one Watt of their power will be paid for through the AEMO. But they must still remain on line with their high quality 240V 50Hz stabilising token power.
At this point the only renewable electricity generation source that can provide high quality into the grid is hydro generation, but constraints remain on actually capacity. Remember that it's not that long since Tasmania had to import over 100 diesel generators as their dams ran dry.
In spite of some academics speculation, there are only a limited number of locations in Australia where a pumped hydro project would be both viable and allowable.
The 100Mw battery project that has been lauded as going to save SA from blackouts and brownouts this coming summer hasn't been commenced yet and in spite of the assurances of both the Premier and Mr Musk, it will still have to be commissioned and proved to be fit for purpose. It can only act as a UPS giving time to fire up the diesel and gas fired emergency generators.
In short, for at least the next ten years, if we, the citizens of eastern Australia want reliable, affordable and high quality electricity, we have to ensure that as many of the existing coal power stations are maintained and fed regularly.
Misty
12th Sep 2017
7:07pm
In your dreams maybe, the latest Intel Poll today shows that the majority of Australians want renewable energy not coal, don't know where the poll was done or what questions were asked it would be interesting to find out.
Couldabeen
12th Sep 2017
7:27pm
From my subjective contacts and observations, very few people actually understand the limitations of renewable power systems. Baseload? Synchronisation?
The desire is still there for there to be the right amount of power to keep all of the domestic appliances running when they want them.
The general population have been badly brainwashed to believe that coal generation is a "dirty" process and killing the environment.
Billions of dollars of tax payer monies have been spent on sky dreams that have not delivered on the promise from their promoters.
Globally nuclear still remains the cleanest and safest but certain political pressure from decades ago worked very hard to convince people otherwise.
TREBOR
7th Sep 2017
8:08pm
Prices will never go down as long as the current failed 'privatisation is more efficient' lie is allowed to continue.

Can't put it much plainer than that.
Lookfar
8th Sep 2017
3:05pm
Hi Trebor, I agree that the "current" privatisation has failed, - and would like to add, - despite many contributors claiming that "Regulation' is the way to go, but not thinking about Regulation by who and for who.
- Without that being defined, and with a pro big business govt, privatisation is about selling off the assets of the people of Australia to their rich mates, - who are the ultimate Me Me Me generation, for a song, plus below the table comebacks, and putting in Regulations that keep their mates in a monopoly position so they can for instance charge far more for electricity than is reasonable whilst still getting govt grants to maintain their infrastructure, (eg poles and wires)
The details of their bastardry are nauseating, but must be faced if we can ever be able to force change.
buby
7th Sep 2017
8:14pm
YES Turnbull, JUst build it what the heck you waiting for!!! A Written INvitation???
Rae
8th Sep 2017
8:55am
I object to my tax dollars being spent building infrastructure for useless private corporations. So no let the private operators build the damn things. They wanted them and they have them now but don't want to maintain them. Tough.

Same with the second airport in Sydney. Macquarie runs the airport. Let them build the new one. They make enough money.

Or the light rail into Newcastle. The buyers of the old line should be responsible for the build.

As a taxpayer my taxes are used to build so that useless lawyers and bankers can gouge fees and charges from buying and selling.

If neoliberal is so fantastic then keep the tax dollars out of the mix and let's see just how clever these business leaders are.
Charlie
7th Sep 2017
8:52pm
Not much use complaining now, but a lot of time was lost when Abbott was elected and was a global embarrassment on matters of climate change and alternative energy. So nothing was done except sit and watch the prices go up. Good thing he stopped the boats or it would have been a complete loss
Misty
12th Sep 2017
6:59pm
Energy prices were supposed to go down when the Carbon Tax was scrapped but that didn't happen did it, in fact prices have soared since then.
Charlie
7th Sep 2017
9:14pm
Electricity should never have been privatized. The faults of government administration are trivial except for one and that's selling off the grid to pay debts. Now we are held to ransom by the electricity companies. Then there's the security risk. Put a bomb in an electricity generator and see the whole country feel the effects.
Charlie
7th Sep 2017
9:48pm
Base load power is not about the maximum demand, its about being able to supply the minimum demand over a set period of time which can be 24hrs or even a week. Hydro could do this with solar energy during the day pumping back some of the water to the reservoir.

Nobody talks about where a new coal base load station would be located. The obvious location would be where coal is mined and where there is water for cooling the generators and for taking particulate matter out of the smoke emissions. Various communities are putting their hand up saying, we want it to boost our employment.
TREBOR
7th Sep 2017
9:57pm
Ah - so that's the reason behind the creation of permanent unemployment -make people beg for their own ill-health and such...

I recall that was a bit like prisons - put one here so we can get some employment.... but not too close and only minimum security.... we don't want any escapes etc....
johnp
7th Sep 2017
10:34pm
these days, the actual (must have) generation, control and distribution of electricity to the customers door is only a proportion of the cost to the consumer. A significant proportion goes on all the other costs from plush offices, CEOs. boards of directors, upper management, sales, marketing, call centres, admin, analysts, strategy consultants, I.T. etc etc. This happening multiple times by many and various bureaucratic office based organisations including such as about 100 retailers

9th Sep 2017
2:16pm
We should stay with coal a tell the greenies to p off.
Australia's contribution to world pollution is 1.5-2%......bugger all.
Most of developed country's have no coal left.....they have sold or used it all and we should do the same whilst other forms are developing.
Lookfar
12th Sep 2017
9:03am
In That case Herb, you would be p offing our Grandchildren and most of the plant and animal species of Australia, as it is only the greenies that give a rat's a... about our fragile Australian environment.
That each and every Australian emits 7 times more carbon than the global average is also something to think about, - and that doesn't count the coal we export, - to be burnt, that would push the figures much higher.
What most don't realise is that although we have lots of coal in the ground, that coal was laid down in the Pleistocene age, the atmosphere was mainly ammonia, is that a sensible thing to do? try to re-create an atmosphere we can not breathe? Streuth, can't people even think? - and anyway, Solar and Wind etc is cheaper than coal, which is mainly dug up by huge semi-automatic machines bought at great cost from overseas and employing very few workers.
Australia has enough coal to destroy our civilisation, we should be absolutely sure we really really need to dig up any more at all before so doing.
Anonymous
12th Sep 2017
9:07am
Utter rubbish from a townie.......I live in the bush and know is happening.
You are brain washed.
Couldabeen
12th Sep 2017
9:49am
Lookfar, you have really been sucked in in a big way. Firstly, the Australian bush is not fragile. It is extremely resilient and recovers from very extreme natural events on regular basis.
Australians do no emit "7 times more carbon than the global average". When objectively assessed, the worst that the anti-carbon zealots could show was that we were around 4th in the Developed World. Which overall put us below 10th globally. Australia does have unique situations due to our low population density and great distances between population clusters meaning that both our transport and power generation emissions are higher than one would expect in say the US or Canada.
From more than one assessment the natural Australian environment absorbs more CO2 than is created through human activity. Both the limestone soils and rocks of SA and Victoria can absorb this and also the natural vegetation stretching from Iron Range to Cape Otway photosynthesises more than is produced (without including the phyto-planckton contained within our 200km EEZ).
On the global balance, GHGs from electricity generation in Australia comprise less than 0.9% of global GHG emissions. If we shut down all GHG emitting power stations this year, it would make no difference at all in the percentage of GHG in the atmosphere, and hence make absolutely no difference to climate change. Coal being exported for use over seas would be replaced with coal from other sources and again, removal of Australian coal from the international market would make no difference to the global atmosphere. Approximately 50% of our export coal is used in steel manufacture and to date no cost effective alternative to this process has been brought into use.
Remember also that the burning of coal is also recreating water that was part of the original chemical structure of the plants that were sequestrated into coal. That's fresh water that has been locked up for many millions of years.
The burning of coal for the production of electricity will never destroy our, or any other, civilisation.
As you've asked "Struth, can't people even think?" From what you've said, apparently not.
Misty
12th Sep 2017
6:54pm
And who in their right mind will invest in any Australian business now if government is going to interfere?, where will it end, who will be next,Telco's, banks etc?. Not a good look for the PM using bullying standover tactics is it, they have been in government for nearly 5 years they should have anticipated this outcome and prepared for it long ago.
ex PS
13th Sep 2017
10:52am
Far easier to blame a party that has not been in government for 6 years than to have to plan for the future or fix anything.
This government obviously has no answers the Coaladdiction is finished.
buby
8th Nov 2017
5:59pm
Couldabeen!
Approximately 50% of our export coal is used in steel manufacture and to date no cost effective alternative to this process has been brought into use.
Remember also that the burning of coal is also recreating water that was part of the original chemical structure of the plants that were sequestrated into coal. That's fresh water that has been locked up for many millions of years.
The burning of coal for the production of electricity will never destroy our, or any other, civilisation.

EVEn if all that of our coal is exported, what they are making out of it, is rubbish, especially what comes out of china. OH ok i just had to say that. But also i'd say the way its done here is probably a lot cleaner than anywhere else, from what i have seen and noted.
china has way lots more pollution than us, So why help them make more? Its obvious they won't go out of their way to a cleaner environment any time too soon!
and USA not far behind, Russia is not too crash hot either.
and the Wars that are flourishing aren't helping any either, currently. So many things going on, and i not think more mining would help our air pollution either. I just came back from North of the next state, and a mining company there i noted, have made a bloody mess, in the form of a large multicoloured mountain. and geez it was hard to breath and talk with the window down going past there. From a distance it looked pretty. but its obviously affecting the air quality, and i notice they were trying to grow grass there, who knows if that is working. And they want more of the same. With adani pushing their luck
I say NO more mining, what they should be doing is building the train tracks from south to north and west to east a lot better than what they have already, and give ppl jobs, god knows they will need them now to sustain them, cause where is the money going to come from when there ARE NO jobs left! Not many want to just look after the oldies, WE not good enough it seems, but we were good to get the country going eh!
Lots of issues to be looked after, and they playing russian roulette the knobs up top. and funny buggers. Whats their ploy, i not amused. So many out of work, and many that don't want to work. Get off the pensioners backs cause we hold the country UP.
MD
13th Sep 2017
9:48am
Hyperbole your contribution, along with that of a couple of others is well informed and thus a good subjective 'take' on the matter. Thankyou for the succinct and (obviously) well researched presentation.
In considering any of the many life/environmental/cost saving propositions touted herein - to the exclusion of both emotive hyperbole and left vs right argy bargy - it might seem NUCLEAR generation to be vaguely worthy of future consideration. The lead time for such a project would require the continuation of most the existing coal generators, some number of which will necessitate an upgrade.
Regardless or not - of whether ANY industry is in the pocket of ANY political party may well be irrelevant, after all said and done ANY lobby with the requisite clout and kickback capability will be made more than welcome by the incumbent players at that time.
Perhaps as a community, where we seem to be failing is our (perceived) individual right to freedom of speech, or as some would have it opinionated comment. It seems to me that regardless of subject most feel compelled to offer their tuppence worth which in itself is fine but somewhere along the conga line they've chosen to ignore the (by now well established) fact that most are mere commentators each peddling their own trinkets of wisdom. It could be that collectively all this amounts to is commensurate with much the same degree of speculation of which they accuse Govt and Industry. That the few posted quotes made by past industrialist/inventors that missed the mark futuristically is a case in point, ie, no one person or party has a definitive answer. Bye and large, we - the proletariat - are pawns on the chessboard of life and having democratically elected our leaders(?) thereafter are at the mercy of their subsequent decisions. As history has firmly established, mankind is not infallible, everyone makes their own mistakes. To a 'lefty' it's the 'right' that made all the mistakes and vice versa to which I'd say - so what, who cares or nowadays 'whateva'.
The direction mankind takes, for better or worse is largely dependant on both the captains of industry and pollies, with a little coaxing from scientists/academia. That we have progressed to this point in time given wars, fossil fuels, various social pathogens and countless politicians, just to name a few of lifes' ills, seems nothing short of miraculous - or is it ?
We've survived and have done so with the aid of many forms of energy which we've all been happy to use - till such time as it either becomes too expensive or is deemed 'bad' for health. Well hells' bell's, nowadays it seems everyone wants a job (of their choosing), is 'entitled' to some form of a social benefit and so on and so forth, but here's the kicker - on their own terms no less.
Going forward power generation wise, whatever eventuates will not happen to the exclusion of those that disagree, at the flick of a switch each and every one of us will be thankful for that light bulb moment, alternatives being limited we pay the price or whinge and whine alone in the dark.
NUCLEAR baseload, from almost every aspect appears to be this country's future.
MD
13th Sep 2017
9:53am
Apologies, in liue of "Hyperbole" please read Couldabeen - got caught up in my haste to comment.
Misty
13th Sep 2017
10:35am
Until it is made safe and foolproof I sincerely hope not.
Couldabeen
13th Sep 2017
12:58pm
Thank you for your comment MD. Yes, sometimes I do get carried away with a little hyperbole.
When viewed from our safe point, very few predictions about industrial and technological advancement have followed those anticipated paths. In the Australian context the spread of electricity for domestic use was tacked onto the back of other reasons. In some cities it spread from tram and tramcar power networks. Country towns from the local butter works, sawmill or meat works. Many towns had full gas reticulation for lighting and were reluctant to move away from that.
Look at how our communications and computer worlds have been more a revolution than an evolution.
One hundred and fifty years ago no-one could envisage that over 90% of the Australian population would have "flick of a switch" access to such a versatile power system that electricity has developed into. Can it evolve into something that we cannot imagine at this stage?
Political forces rooted in the Communist world of the 1940's and '50's have worked extremely hard to poison the air around nuclear as a general power generation source.
Misty needs to actually study the real world around the actual dangers from nuclear power. As I have mentioned earlier, on terrawatts of power generated over the past 50 years, with several hundred nuclear power stations around the world, apart from the catastrophe that was man made at Chernobyl, there have been no deaths from radiation releases or losses from such power stations and remains the safest form of power generation. In short, the death toll is zero.
Nuclear waste from power stations? All of the waste from these stations can be reprocessed and reused until negligible. However, thanks to fears engendered by the Communist driven anti-nuclear lobby, under the guise of Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaties, such recycling is prohibited and spent fuel must be removed from the chain. Actual danger to health from radiation from such waste is purely speculative and has not been found to actually cause the harms that were predicted.
The Thorium fuel system has it's proponents and it may well be the fuel of the future, But I have not studied it as I have all other method of power generation.
For a real life example of the long term dangers of radiation, consider the "Ground Zeros" in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Neither are the desolate wastelands that some would have us expect, but bustling contemporary centres of commerce. If anything the populations of those two cities have lower levels of cancers and allied health problems usually attributed to radiation exposure than those of Osaka and Tokyo.
Couldabeen
13th Sep 2017
1:03pm
In all fairness to Misty, unfortunately, the moment we (engineers, scientists et al) make something "fool proof", along comes a "better" fool.
Murphys Law. Familiarise oneself with it and live in fear.
Misty
13th Sep 2017
2:47pm
I bow to your superior knowledge Couldabeen, on the subject of Nuclear Power.
Lookfar
13th Sep 2017
3:19pm
There is a series of false arguments put out by the Nuclear lobby, couldabeen seems to be one of those unfortunate victims, but Nuclear has been dissed by the market place, it is just too damned expensive, and will probably always be as it's costs are now rising as it has to be made terrorist proof, earthquake proof and Tsunami proof, all without costing three or four times as much as any power source.
Note the comments about Baseload, if there is such a thing it would be the minimum load, ie after midnight, perhaps 1/20th of peak, and only if the wind isn't blowing because Nuclear costs so much.
At the moment with current technolgy, Nuclear can't ramp up and down quickly as loads change quickly, - as they do, eg at Peak, really all that old technology is not worth the money nor the risk.
Couldabeen
13th Sep 2017
7:09pm
Lookfar, I have looked at nuclear power for over 45 years. Ranging from enthusiastic to wary to back to supportive. It remains the safest and cheapest in operation.
The reason that it has been pushed out of favour in the market is back to the political pressure going back to unfounded fears built by an economy that was determined to hold back the West. The excessive costs come from extremely high insurance demanded by the anti-lobby. In real terms it is no more difficult to make such power stations terrorist, earthquake and tsunami proof than other technologies.
Further reflection on baseload must consider that it is what the demand is at anytime. Nuclear can ramp up as well as coal, especially as unlike coal, it cost little more to be kept at a high level of capacity at all times. Gas turbine and diesel can vary generation rapidly, but must still be kept close to operation at all times. Battery back-up is extremely expensive and no banks at this stage have demonstrated affordability and actual ability to supply full demand with loss of supply.
GrumpyOldMan
13th Sep 2017
4:42pm
Well not to be too picky but governments of the day are elected by the people. It really doesn't matter which party holds the reins, these are highly paid public servants who should be earning their keep. Now trying to convince the owners to keep a failing power station on past its use-by date smacks of incompetence all round, Surely these people were aware of increasing populations and increasing demand for power well into the future. I don't want to hear about how long it will take to build any new facility. This should have already been taken into account and contingency plans put in place to offset the demand and keep prices lower. There hasn't been one state in this country that offers cheaper power after all the assets (that we already owned by the way) were sold to private enterprise. Put simply, any privately owned business is in it for the money at the least cost. Governments on the other hand are just extensions of ourselves. We need only spend what it takes to keep plants running efficiently with the benefits to ourselves coming in the form of lower prices. And so to nuclear! I worked for Mary Kathleen Uranium for its entire second operation existence. All of our product was sent overseas to some of the 450 nuclear power stations around the world. There have been two serious accidents at old plants but the utter devastation and gloom that the anti nuclear lobbies promised hasn't really been evident. The main problem with nuclear power is getting rid of the waste. Long abandoned underground mines at between 3 to 5 thousand feet could easily be used to encapsulate spent material in concrete. the chances of that material finding its way back to the surface would take the thousands of years necessary for it to deplete. The uranium we mined was at the surface and although only low level, cattle and wildlife had been wandering over it for hundreds if not thousands of years. (wildlife that is) We are constantly reminded that the sun doesn't always shine and the wind doesn't always blow for stable base load power. Well there is a source of renewable energy that doesn't care about the sun or the wind. It doesn't matter where you live bar a few locations like the gulf of carpentaria where tides rise and fall twice a day every day. Learn to harness this and we won't have to worry about any other form for the foreseeable future. OK, had my little rant.
Couldabeen
13th Sep 2017
8:06pm
It is easy to be grumpy in the contemporary social and political climate, but you have lived long enough to remember that "Governments", acting on the advice of "experts" have always had a horror threat to hold over us. Remember the MAD spectre that had us moments from "the end of civilization as we know it" for over 3 decades? A society living in fear of an unknown "monster" can be manipulated.
I have been into the Mary Kathleen Mine site a couple of times. I heard an ABC radio announcer describing the water as "slimy" and polluted. He is completely ignorant that that bright colour is the natural colour from the high copper in the soils and strata.
I also have wondered why there is an aversion to putting the much feared nuclear wastes back where they came from.
Power generation. Originally electricity in our communities was generated by businesses or utilities that had a direct need for it. This meant that there was a multitude of different systems, AC/DC, 50hz, 60hz, 32V, 110/120/220/240V. The State Governments stepped in and established Authorities that set about standardizing frequencies and voltages and build distribution networks. This work was done on a heavily subsidized basis as it would've been unaffordable if the consumers had had to pay the set up and construction costs. But they were built with life expectancy of over 50 years. The power stations were also built by the Governments through their Authorities to supply an essential service.
Global political pressure created a chimera of climate change driven by the emissions from our power stations. You know how the Australian political story evolved. This included the compulsory supply of electricity sourced from "clean" generators/suppliers. These suppliers all received guaranteed prices on all power created. Coal stations were pushed into the background in the market and with no certainty of sale of product, the owners have no surety of income whilst their wind and solar projects generate income regardless.
As Government business entities are not permitted to compete in the open market against free enterprise business, it will take a quantum shift to see any State Government to renter markets that they have previously sold out of. Also the Greens remain absolutely opposed to any form of coal generated electricity and Labor at all levels is dependent on them for their hold on political power, it is extremely unlikely that any ALP conference would endorse either recommissioning of closed stations or initializing any new builds.
I have had a more than cursory look at wave and tide generation and while the promise is good, the oceans have proven harder to harness than anticipated. Projects in WA, SA and NSW have swallowed millions of tax payer dollars and either generate only token amounts or have ended up as rusting wrecks sitting off beaches and against rockwalls. It is obviously a long way from source of generation to many consumers in all States.
vincent
13th Sep 2017
9:12pm
Situation in Victoria Simple there is a continental shelf the technology is available stick the windmills in the sea.The Dutch are doing it min 700mw a year and others too. The newer windmills are reaching 10mw and technology is advancing fast. Shore based mills are up to 7.5mw at the moment. Stop farting around and just build them.
Not Senile Yet!
14th Sep 2017
4:03pm
Bunch of luing hypocrites....thet took the money and wasted it!
Now they expect pE to finance everything that they financed.
So where has all our Tax and money from sales of our assets gone?
Abbra ca Dabbra...poof!
Dissappeared into a Black hole?
Yet still the give awsy money they do not have...according to them....to Aid Overseas???
liar Liar Ur Pants are on fire!


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