Electricity prices likely to rise after power plant shutdown

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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? 

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191 Comments

Total Comments: 191
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    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.

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      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….

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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!

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      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!

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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!

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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….

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      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.

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      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.

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      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?

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      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/

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    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.

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      Yeah….and Fukushima and Chernobyl do not exist. Where do they come from.

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      I think there was a similar one in the USA as well Mick but not as bad.

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      You are right Wstaton. The issue being nuclear is a fool’s paradise.

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      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.

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      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???
      [email protected] 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

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      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.

  3. 0
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    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.

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      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.

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      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…

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      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!!

    • 0
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      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…

  4. 0
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    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.

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      Be alright until they get a week of bleak weather.

    • 0
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      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.

    • 0
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      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!

    • 0
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      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?

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      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.

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      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.

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      ….and if it is too windy or not enough wind on a bleak few days.

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      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.

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      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.

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    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.

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      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)

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      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.

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      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.

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      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….

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      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???

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      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.

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    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.

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      Yeah but you sort of get where I was heading.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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!!

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      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!!

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    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.

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      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.

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      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?

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      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.

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      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.

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      Placido very conveniently omits the reason BEHIND the sale of ETSA

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      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….

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      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.

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      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.

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    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.

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      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.

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      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.

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    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.

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      Yep over paid billing companies in an age of the computer. The suppliers even read the meters for them. It’s insane.

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      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.

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    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.

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      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?

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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