JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


Handbooks


Advertising


Australian Speakers Agency



GoldNerds

The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX



The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper



Archives

Shocking electricity price rises starting in Australia — so bad that small retailers ask customers to leave

It’s the day before the election and all through the house, electricity bills are doubling

The price rises are so extraordinary one retailer is asking their customers to leave “in the next 24 hours”.

Across Australia small power suppliers are sending emails to customers right now warning them that their rates are going up next week by eye-watering amounts. Wholesale electricity prices were at a record high in April this year, and it hasn’t improved in May. Prices are hitting $200-$300 per megawatt hour, not as a peak, but as a 24 hour average. In South Australia two days ago, the average for the full day was $1,141. Futures contracts are rapidly taking off and these rises are starting to flow through to customers. Already, the small retailers are bleeding cash, just as they did in the UK, and if wholesale prices don’t come back to Earth soon, they will go out of business.

Reader Brett in South Australia shared an email from Discover Energy.  As of next week the standard peak rate will rise from 39 cent per kilowatt hour to 70 cents. Off peak rates rise from 27 to 46. He also adds, “My brother lives in NSW and today he received an email advising of an increase from 17 cents to 30 cents.”

Blistering:

Small power retailers urge customers to find another retailer…

Perry Williams, The Australian

Thousands of households have been slugged with a doubling of power prices after retailers passed on surging costs, sparking fears some operators may collapse under the weight of volatile market conditions.

Queensland’s LPE, with over 20,000 customers, said it was strongly encouraging customers to find alternative suppliers following its decision to increase charges by over 100 per cent on June 1.

“Within the next 24 hours, we strongly encourage you to seek an alternative supplier,” LPE chief executive Damien Glanville said in a letter to customers…

The huge price jumps among the second-tier retailers will stoke broader concerns that smaller Australian electricity operators could follow the fate of UK retailers where nearly 30 energy companies have collapsed after failing to hedge against rising wholesale costs.

 

Below are the new rates that Discover Energy sent to Brett. As business owners Discover Energy have been sweating bullets for two months now, hoping they didn’t have to do this. Things are so bad, they also encourage customers  to investigate available market offers by visiting www.energymadeeasy.com.au to find a better deal. Presumably they are losing money with every customer and every kilowatt.

Discover Electricity Bills, SA, 2022, retail price rise.

Ouch, look at those prices!

Discover Energy promise that when wholesale prices fall, they will pass the reductions on. It must be heartbreak-hill for them, and soon, if these rates continue, the pain will spread to all the small businesses that will face larger electricity bills. The price of coffee will rise, and so on, and people will spend less. Then staff will be laid off…

On their website Discover Energy blame “global disruptions” but curiously list the bid setting graph from the latest AEMO report. Their point was that all the price winning bids are now higher than they were the last quarter and two to three times higher than this time last year.  But the graph also shows that when brown coal wins the bidding stack, the prices are still only 2 cents per kilowatt hour.

So the hidden truth here is that if we had more brown coal plants the global disruption wouldn’t matter. We’ve left ourselves vulnerable by pushing it out of the grid.

Brown coal setting lowest prices on Australian NEM Market. Electricity Grids.

Brown coal setting lowest prices on Australian NEM Market. Electricity Grids.

As readers have explained, brown coal isn’t sold on the international market, because it can’t be transported safely, so there’s no bidding war for Australian brown coal from cold Europeans.

Apparently it can burst into flames, just like that, which is awkward for everyone. As Ian Waters says: ” it spontaneously combusts if you leave it in a hopper too long, put it in the hold of a ship. “

Given the enormous reserves in La Trobe Valley, Victoria could be a powerhouse of cheap energy and manufacturing, since the coal doesn’t have to be transported anywhere, but Dan Andrews decided to change the weather instead.

Thanks also to Sunshine Rainbows, RickWill, David Maddison and Gerard Basten for explaining more on Brown coal and electricity markets in comments here.

Probably too soon to change many votes

While this will be top of mind for people getting these astonishing letters, most Australians won’t realize what might be coming. This news hits so late and only affects small retail customers at the moment.  Larger retailers have longer hedging contracts and news media coverage has been small.

And since most conservatives have not pushed back against the myth of Cheap Renewables they probably wouldn’t benefit from these disconcerting rises in any case.  A Labor-Green-Teal alliance would make energy twice the price in half the time, but there are plenty of confused Australians who think that wind and solar power can change the weather and give them cheap power too.

h/t to Brett in South Australia. With commiserations…

 

 

 

 

9.9 out of 10 based on 50 ratings

90 comments to Shocking electricity price rises starting in Australia — so bad that small retailers ask customers to leave

  • #

    It puts a damper on EV sales, since at $1 per Kwh, it costs almost $100 to fully charge the 95 Kwh battery in a Tesla, which has the energy equivalent of about 3 gallons of gasoline.

    240

    • #

      Do Ev’s over in OZ freeload on other road users?

      For example here in theUK, despite not paying fuel tax, vat on that tax, congestion charges or any other charges, they get to use the road for free . Because of their greater weight they grind away more of the road surface and cause more pollution with brakes and tyres

      180

      • #
        Ronin

        Yes Tony, the same here, except a couple of states are introducing 2.5c a kilometer tax.

        70

    • #
      Geoff+Croker

      Apparently it can burst into flames, just like that, which is awkward for everyone. As Ian Waters says: ” it spontaneously combusts if you leave it in a hopper too long, put it in the hold of a ship. “

      It has 20% by weight volatiles. These volatiles (C6-C20 n-anes, n-enes, phenols) can be separated at 60% of possible to get 1.1 BoE/raw ton of lignite.

      33 Billion Raw tons * A$150/BoE = A$5 TRILLION dollars

      This is the proven reserve. It can be pre-sold at 5% of proven.

      The inferred reserve is worth over A$60 TRILLION.

      True value of renewables? Assured bankruptcy versus richest country on Earth.

      160

      • #
        Graeme No.3

        And those volatiles can be used or converted into other products, as can brown coal into things like diesel fuel.

        30

      • #
        Lee

        Geoff, I understood the last line…everything else, I’m too ignorant. Care to add some more detail?

        00

    • #
      Chad

      co2isnotevil
      May 20, 2022 at 5:57 am · Reply
      It puts a damper on EV sales, ……

      Possibly,… but it will surely boost sales of RoofTop solar,….
      …which will further aggravate the problem !

      20

  • #
    Mikky

    This is scary, everyone said it would happen, but its worse now because Russia is a convenient excuse. In South Australia the Torrens Island Power Station (gas fired) was the unsung hero, but of course its economics have been shot to pieces by wind and solar, and it has been closing units, but never mind, it is constructing a … battery! :

    https://www.pv-magazine-australia.com/2021/07/08/agl-mothballs-gas-unit-with-work-set-to-start-on-big-battery/

    Another scary part is that everybody preaches the free market (for various reasons), “Price Signals” are meant to fix everything, but my view is that only state ownership can solve this problem, the state must not allow any more closures of fossil-fueled units, and must restore the ones in mothballs.

    240

    • #
      b.nice

      To get proper “price signals” you can’t have renewables subsidised to the wazoo !

      190

    • #
      Chad

      The
      T island OCGT facility is being “mothballed” ,(could be recommissioned)
      Note the date of that article …….a year ago.
      SA/AGL have since commissioned the nearby Barker Point gas fueled generators which were planned to replace the OCGT units.
      Somebody, at least is still thinking down there !

      00

      • #
        Graeme No.3

        I hear that Barker Point is diesel; start up on diesel until hot then switch to natural gas. Does allow use of diesel alone if gas prices go through the roof …… But I forget, current government policy is to get rid of gas and diesel.

        40

        • #
          Chad

          Yes, G3 current govmt policy is to reduce Gas and Diesel..
          …but remember that is Political public policy.. fodder for thw mwdia !
          Remember also that the same government have offered to fund new Gas (and coal ) generators in various states !!
          So it is Stale politics that is preventing more fossil generation,..not Federal.
          And Having seen this past 24 months what a government can do under emergency powers..
          Stop overseas travel
          Stop interstate travel
          Lockdown populations
          Forced medical proceedures
          Etc etc..
          A seizeure of gas supplies at fixed low prices for generation and heating,…should be easy !
          Note for info .. those Torrens gas generators are 50 years old !

          20

          • #
            Chad

            Sorry for the typ[o’s .. i have just changes to a BT keyboard on the Ipad..
            ..still learning !

            10

    • #
      Robert Swan

      Mikky,

      only state ownership can solve this problem

      Strongly disagree. State interference is at the root of the problem. Who do you think is forcing all the renewable rubbish on us?

      71

      • #
        Paul Siebert

        Robert,
        When we speak of state ownership, we mean we/us/ourselves ownership.

        On us (we/us/ourselves) that we have made ourselves too stupid to manage anything more complex than the 4 cornered Lego bricks.

        00

    • #
      Ronin

      Bring it on I say, that and a few rolling blackouts, the unaware public will get the message sometime after that… hopefully.

      00

  • #
    Rafe+Champion

    The challenge is to explain to people what is happening and why this disaster was entirely predictable. This is the mission of the Energy Realists that spun off from the Five Dock Climate Realists.

    We have a temporary home at RiteOn and our own website is under construction. The driver will be the notorious Peter Campion who will turn his attention to this mission after he has finished trying to unseat Bob Katter in the Queensland electorate of Kennedy.

    140

  • #
    David Maddison

    Tragically, I think the way the Left will spin this is that we need even MORE solar, wind and Big Batteries, not more proper coal, gas or -gasp- nuclear power stations. (Australia has no significant undeveloped hydro capacity and SH2 doesn’t count as it is a net consumer of energy).

    The anti-energy lobby have finally achieved their goal. It is this bad under a “Liberal” pretend conservative federal government. Just imagine how much worse it will get under Green Labor.

    Apologists for Morrison will say that he is not responsible for this because electricity is a state responsibility. That is true to a point but Morrison has shown ZERO leadership on this, and failed to remove us from the Paris Agreement. Had he done so, Australia would not have had this fanatical commitment to economy-destroying wind and solar and some of the world’s most expensive electricity (if not the most), up from some of the world’s cheapest not so long ago.

    News of this won’t propagate before election time but what difference would it make? You have a choice between an very bad (Libs) or extremely bad (Green Labor) government. And the dumbed-down masses will have no clue why their next electricity bill is so high.

    250

    • #
      Ronin

      “And the dumbed-down masses will have no clue why their next electricity bill is so high.”

      Watch the disconnections soar.

      100

    • #
      Forrest Gardener

      I see no practical difference between the political parties on this. It is not as though a coalition government will fix the energy market.

      70

    • #
      yarpos

      ” And the dumbed-down masses will have no clue why their next electricity bill is so high.”

      thats an exceptionally arrogant statement. When have the masses ever known or had to know how electricity is generated , distributed and costed? or water or the Internet or many other things. The problem should not be laid at the publics feet. What gets me is that there will be politicians, engineers and managers that will be genuinely surprised when this all turns to excrement as it will.

      In other news it appears California has had its “of sh1t!” moment and is now spending up on gas and diesel generators and deferring retirement just like SA did and Germany and the UK are in the process of doing.

      https://www.zerohedge.com/energy/california-spend-52-billion-electricity-reserve-avoid-blackouts

      50

  • #
    Pauly

    Price volatility is now closely associated with lack of excess capacity in coal fired generators, during periods of low or zero solar output and declining wind output:
    https://wattclarity.com.au/articles/2022/05/16may-qld-volatility/

    As Texans discovered two years ago, the rules favouring renewables have created a NEM that is rewarded for energy output, but not capacity. Coupled with renewables having no ability to provide dispatchable energy, the available excess capacity on the NEM has significantly declined.

    140

    • #
      b.nice

      So true. We used to have coal fired capacity to meet peak demand, with a good leeway above that..

      Now we don’t. !

      Even now, with wind in SA actually exporting a tiny amount.. prices are over $280 !

      70

      • #
        David Maddison

        And any excess coal power was transferred to aluminium smelters to make cheap aluminium.

        30

        • #
          b.nice

          Didn’t actually work quite that way.

          It was the bulk load of the smelters that allowed the coalies to keep their output reasonably constant.

          30

          • #
            Chad

            I think you will find that the load from HVAC systems in all the big tower buildings have surpassed all the smelter loads these days. ( few left anyway now)
            And those HVAC demands will only increase.
            Add in future Pumped Hydro (Snowy 2 etc) and all those big batteries….
            …i see an ever increasing “base load” requirement
            Bring on the nuclear units !!

            20

            • #
              John in Oz

              Don’t forget that as more EVs are forced on us that the base load period will only get longer and higher, placing even more stress on generation

              10

  • #
    Erasmus

    Perry Williams, a keen proponent of wind and solar in his articles for The Australian, is one of those to blame for the energy fiasco now making its presence felt. He and all others like him in the complicit media should be sacked.
    The media has been the handmaiden of manipulative lobbies and foolish politicians.

    250

    • #
      Rafe+Champion

      We really need a “Hall of infamy” to list the journalists and commentators who have kept the public in the dark about the most basic elements of the situation. Perry Williams is a classic case. His salary should be paid by the RE industry, it is absurd for News Limited to pay him:)

      50

      • #
        Graeme No.3

        But Rafe, all he does is Cut & Paste Press Releases. But why should News Limited pay him for that?

        20

  • #
    David Maddison

    How long are people going to continue to believe the obvious lie that solar and wind is cheaper than proper power generation?

    90

    • #
      Ronin

      It’s harder to convince people they have been fooled than it is to fool them in the first place.

      180

    • #
      TOM BIEGLER

      I hate to call it a lie but, whatever, it’s the single claim that’s at the root of what is happening. “Renewables are cheapest”, said again and again, from Ministers to Leaders of the Opposition to Professors to the punters in the pub. Is it wrong? And if so why have so many been fooled. Well, it’s half right. The marginal cost of solar (not wind) for a customer with land, a home on it, a sound roof, local tradespeople, and most important of all, connection to the grid, is indeed low, lower still if governments offer subsidies, which they do/did. The full cost of a reliable solar electricity system where none of those benefits exist is much greater, by an essentially unknown multiplier, because such systems have never been built and used. They are essentially hypothetical. And the people who offer cost estimates for these non-existent systems are always conflicted; they desperately want the cost to be lower and they are certain it is. How all this came about will one day be examined by a very angry society, maybe even a Royal Commission. Right now the electorate loves and wants renewable energy. They believe the propaganda. This will, ultimately, change. What to do in the meantime? I wish I knew. Long ago there were wise electrical engineers who saw solar enthusiasm as a religion. They were right. The cure will take a long time.

      40

    • #
      CriddleDog

      For as long as they keep voting for the “normies”.

      10

  • #
    David Maddison

    If they shut down one more coal power station, it’s “game over”.

    This disaster is happening sooner than most of us on the rational side of things had expected.

    190

  • #
    Vlad the Impaler

    Cue Peter Fitzroy to tell us how inexpensive solar and wind energy are in … … … 3, … … … , 2, … … … , 1, … … …

    110

    • #
      David Maddison

      Many, if not most Leftists will rejoice in the higher prices because their objective is to reduce our standard of living, except for the Elites.

      150

  • #
    Anton

    Why in Australia has a party not arisen campaigning on this issue, with intent to threaten the vote of – and thereby influence – the big parties? That is how democracy works. We did it in the UK with Brexit, and we are set to do it again with energy prices and the ReformUK Party. Wake up Australians, you still have a great country; keep it that way.

    140

    • #
      Ross

      Because the two major parties dominate the political landscape and they are basically just sad reflections of each other. Last election the Liberal National Party “fell in” to win the election. More by luck than good management and since then have not really championed any political views that most of their supports perceive to be their core values. They are the Liberal National Party but in reality they are “Labor lite”. They have this dimwitted theory that if they lean sightly more left or espouse more green views that this will attract voters from the left. There are 2 chances of any previous Labor or Green voter ever voting for LNP – buckleys and none. This election campaign has been the worst that I can remember. The LNP have also been in federal power for the greater part of the last 2 decades, so if anything they are responsible for the higher power prices. If you look at the imposition of the Renewable Energy Target ( RET), the retirement of coal generators, the lack of action on nuclear energy- all these were under the LNP. Then, in Australia we also play the state vs federal blame game. The feds may have indeed implemented plans for new coal and gas generators but the final say rests with the states. If state has the opposite in politics ( Labor vs LNP ) there is little chance of any of those plans going forward. But have the federal LNP openly declared they would like to build new coal and gas power plants in various states? Has the PM or his Energy Minister made great speeches or announcements about this. No – because that might offend some Greens voter who would never vote for them in the first place.

      40

    • #
      b.nice

      “Why in Australia has a party not arisen campaigning on this issue”

      Because it hasn’t really started to bite yet.

      Will shortly though, and much faster under Lab/Green than Lib.

      30

    • #
      Rafe+Champion

      All the most influential advice to the politicians supports the insanity, for one reason or another;

      There is ideological pressure expressed as public opinion driven by the new religion of green fundamentalism, backed by young people who have been indoctrinated from pre-school age and by an extraordinarily wide and deep network of influential NGOS, universities and quasi-government bodies that promote the doctrines of warming alarm and net zero.

      There are financial vested interests with lobbyists and powerbrokers that are close to the levers of political influence in the major parties.

      The CSIRO, BOM and all the government departments have been captured by greens or people who just go along with it to get a job. So all the cabinet ministers are “snowed” by their departments and none of them know enough to think differently. Some pollies are self-educated and know batter but they will never be Ministers.

      50

  • #
    Ronin

    No one cares if toxic S&W can supply 110% of the grid, but they sure will care when its’ share is 5%.

    60

  • #
    David Maddison

    I know of a single disabled mother of two on a disability pension and she and her children cannot afford to stay warm in their apartment even before this price rise (without help, I am helping them).

    140

  • #
    David Maddison

    In Vicdanistan the Andrews regime must jave anticipated the price rise because he is sending $250 to everyone to cover the cost of electricity, although it can be spent on whatever you want.

    The Sheeple think it’s “free stuff”, not understanding it is THEIR taxes, taken from them in the first place.

    190

    • #
      David Maddison

      Correct me if I am wrong but I think the consequences of this are worse in Australia than other countries because a) the fanatical commitment to unreliables and b) the extensive and ongoing closure of proper power stations, even before the end of their useful life and c) the inability to build any new proper coal, gas or nuclear power stations, and even if they did get approval, it would take at least 15 years until first power simply because things happen so slowly here and there is a Soviet-style bureaucracy and red and green tape.

      140

      • #
        b.nice

        We also don’t have an umbilical cord to other countries. That’s all that saves UK and Germany from total collapse when wind and solar are MIA. !

        120

      • #
        Rafe+Champion

        It is worse in Australia because we can’t get power from other places as they do in European countries and states in the US.

        Plus no nuclear power.

        The four icebergs.

        40

        • #
          Chad

          Dont panic !
          M Canon Brooks , Holmes Acourt and their buddies have a plan….
          $30 billion for a 20GW solar farm in NT, and a HVDC undersea interconnector cable …
          Oh ! Sorry, thats for export only !!!

          20

          • #
            Chad

            ..and i forgot to mention that little addition of a 42 GW battery farm !!!!
            ( cackeling larf from the Joker as he skips out of the door !!)

            30

          • #
            Graeme No.3

            And that across an active tectonic rift.
            It makes the scheme (that never got off the ground) for the UK to import “renewables” from Iceland look believable.

            10

  • #
    PeterS

    Some of us have been warning this was going to happen, and a few of us already saw the signs not long ago when they kept on telling us lies about how electricity prices will come down a lot. Now it’s all going pear shaped fast. So, what do we do about it? Apart from sending a loud and clear message at the federal election, there is very little we can do about it since those in control now at all levels of government are hell bent on ramping up their self-destructive agendas. Those who haven’t already woken up to what’s happening soon will be whether they like it or not.

    90

    • #
      yarpos

      I guess this is the catastrophic, unprecedented tipping point then. Hopefully it will turn out like all the warmist alarmist ones, however I don’t think that’s the case as we are seeing reality unfold. Reality often resents being ignored.

      11

    • #
      Graeme No.3

      A good election to lose?

      20

  • #
    Robert Swan

    It doesn’t seem that there’s *anybody* in Australia profiting out of this. Government policy has gradually created a totally unnecessary shortage which pushes up prices, but not profit. Bills go up, businesses fail, jobs are lost; pretty much everybody loses. It’s an Australian version of the mad green experiment in Sri Lanka. Let’s hope it doesn’t work out as badly.

    70

  • #
    David Maddison

    Where are the usual Lefties to tell us this is someone else’s fault – like Donald Trump or Russia or even that we need to build thousands more windmills, panels and Big Batteries? Or even God for not making the wind blow enough or the sun shine?

    30

  • #
    Ross

    What gets me is the advice of the suppliers to “seek alternative suppliers”. Where from for goodness sake, they all get their electricity from the same source. Or is this some subliminal message for everyone to rush out and install solar panels/ batteries and their own wind turbine? As noted by various other commentators this will be blamed on everything but the real root cause of power prices- renewables. It will be climate change, the “unreliability of coal”, Scott Morrison/LNP, Vladimir Putin, Tony Abbott. My only hope is that someone might actually also blame Malcolm Turnbull because he was part of government that did very little for “climate”. Whatever that is.

    40

    • #
      Forrest Gardener

      At a guess the difference between profitable retailers and unprofitable retailers is the extent to which they have financial hedging schemes in place to cope with emergencies.

      Those who succeed are a lot like share traders who profit when the market goes down. But fancy having to be an expert trader just to run a retail power company. That way be madness.

      30

      • #
        yarpos

        You would hope they would at least be competent risk managers and financial managers. Its really all they do.

        10

  • #

    This issue (see below, in an email I sent to Angus Taylor) surfaced Sky News yesterday and terrifies voters, so Joanne using your good Govt contacts could you even at this late stage, arrange an interview with the Energy minister, as his assurance on this matter would knock Albo completely ‘out of the ring’!

    Angus,

    Just heard on TV that similar to what has occured in the UK, some of the smaller energy companies are hinting at power bills increasing by over 40% due to the world wide price of coal virtually doubling since 2021.
    Apart from exposing the ruinous policies (ie; Closing Coal Mines) of the ALP, the Greens and the Teal Independents, what can your Govt do to put voters minds at rest, apart from assuring the electorate prior to the Election (ie by Sat 21st), that Coal Production for domestic Energy will be increased to offset any ludicrous domestic Power Bill increases during the winter months.
    MARK MY WORDS, this assurance alone would ensure VICTORY for the Coalition Govt, as all pensioners and those on fixed incomes (not only the “Quiet Australians’) are terrified of potentially savage heating bill increases compounding their current difficulties in covering petrol and other ‘Cost of Living’ increases.

    40

  • #
    Chad

    Remember .. THIS IS NOT FUEL PRICE RELATED
    Fuel, …..gas, coal, wind , etc are a tiny part of retail power bills. (<10%)
    These cost hikes are due solely to the screwed up AEMO wholesale market pricing system.
    All it needs is a powerful new broom swept through the mess that is their costing system,
    I am sure there are many that can do it..
    …but i fear there are so many profiteering from it they will not allow it to happen !

    30

  • #

    Years ago, when I was researching UltraSuperCritical (USC) coal fired power, (also referred to as HELE, High Efficiency Low Emissions, but I always use USC) as it became known that these new plants were being constructed, nearly all the information was for black coal fired plants, naturally, as brown coal always had the perceived ‘moisture content’ ….. problem.

    I came across information from Germany on how they were also constructing these plants using the brown coal (Lignite) so common in Germany. They were getting the same efficiency as the black coal fired plants, and I wondered why.

    I chased down (didn’t that take some time) information on one of the newer plants coming on line, the huge Neurath plant, the new F and G Units, so just the TWO Units.

    Each Unit was ‘running’ an 1100MW generator, the new (for the time) standard huge generator these plants could run.

    What they were doing here was that they were utilising the immense heat of the plant to dry the coal out prior to insertion into the furnace, and in so doing, were achieving the same efficiencies as they were getting with the black coal plants.

    This operation then became standard for future German brown coal fired plants, and the system then became pretty much the standard for all brown coal plants using this new USC technology ….. and now they have advanced even further with the technology to the next level, Advanced USC.

    At the time, there was a pretty long many many page fact sheet with diagrams and images etc, and it was a long trawl to read it through.

    However, near the bottom of all those pages (and thank heaven I did read it all) was hidden this little gem:

    WTA technology is also proposed as part of a major retrofit planned for the Hazelwood power plant in Australia (see Modern Power Systems, December 2007, pp 22-29).

    The tech in question is the use of the heat to dry out the coal prior to injection of that ‘powdered’ coal into the furnace.

    So, there were plans to use this technology to improve Hazelwood.

    Well, they blew up the plant instead.

    But hey, the technology exists to have plants like this delivering IMMENSE amounts of power, keeping in mind that just ONE plant of this technology can in one year, deliver 75% of the total generated power from EVERY wind plant in Australia.

    Huge amounts of power in this manner means cheaper costs for electricity. (One coal fired power plant versus 69 separate wind plants, you work it out)

    Tony.

    PostScript – That fact sheet disappeared many years back now, so I lamented not saving it when I first saw it. I saved the link, but not the article itself. However, four or five years after losing it, I spent time trying to chase it down again. What I found was the text of the fact sheet, no diagrams etc and there were many of them, but here, it was just the text. Here’s the link to the article. Note the date at the top, 2008. Now for the Hazelwood mention, don’t read the whole article (unless you want to, as it’s so interesting) but scroll all the way to the bottom. Now counting back up the text, go up by ten paragraphs to that para beginning with ….. WTA etc.
    (Naah! Let’s just blow it up instead)

    130

    • #
      Chad

      Thanks Tony useful information…its a pity more in powerful positions dont understand !
      But maybe you clarify something please..
      The old Torrens Island generators are listed as “Natural Gas / Fuel Oil, Steam Sub-Critical” .
      What exactly do you understand that to be ?
      Is it just a gas/oil burner generating steam from a boiler, ?
      Or is it a early form of gas/oil turbine with a heat capture system for secondary subcritical steam turbine ( as i assumed ) ?
      Any info appreciated .

      20

      • #
        Ronin

        Chad, Torrens Island is a steam turbine (200MW per unit) station with boilers that can burn gas or fuel oil.
        Commissioned in 1967, so it’s getting on a bit, but clean tech is able to be retrofitted.

        20

    • #
      Ross

      I think at one stage Energie (French company who owned Hazelwood) proposed a sale price for the facility at $200m. Then it wasn’t sold and blown up. When it was for sale the feds should have stepped in, bought the facility and then upgraded it slowly to that USC equivalent. Possibly for about double the sale price. Would have still been a bargain- and sadly probably finished by now. I don’t like government intervention in most things, but in this case it was could have been justified. Latrobe Valley coal fields are actually in a LNP electorate (Darren Chester) and so it would have been a win/win for the LNP. $200 m – if you think the money spent on COVID, that investment and the upgrade would have been trivial.

      50

      • #
        Ronin

        Hazelwood could have been upgraded with coal driers/ pulverisers at the front and electrostatic plates/bag filters on the stacks, the latter was done on an old 1950’s coallie near me and it was so clean, you couldn’t tell from a distance if it was even running.

        40

        • #
          Ross

          I picked up the following statement a couple of years ago. “A new pulverized coal plant, with flue gas scrubbers, fabric filters, catalytic reduction and other control equipment and processes, reduces NOX by 83%, SO2 by 98% and PM (particulate matter ) by 99.8% compared to a similar plant without such pollution control features. (US Dept of Energy)”. So, not only can you build more environmentally safe coal generators, they can also be way more efficient. There must be some engineers somewhere in this country that also know this. Are they paid to say nothing or have they just given up ?

          40

          • #
            Dave Ward

            So, not only can you build more environmentally safe coal generators, they can also be way more efficient

            But they STILL push out lots of CO2, and that (as we all know) is complicit in destroying the planet…

            11

  • #
    Geoff Sherrington

    We can validly regard provision of electricity as an essential service. If there is a failure of the electricity supply, there are many ways in which people can and will die.
    The people who design and provide our electricity supply are generally intelligent, or they would not have reached the positions they hold. So, we might assume that they are intelligent enough to know that if they do their work badly, people will die. Doing work badly can bee seen two ways, first, not allowing enough safeguard for disaster events like the CME, the Coronal Mass Ejection mechanism for Carrington Events, that can knock out power supplies. In this case, money plays a big part in how much safeguard there can be and societies might approve only a part of the need. The second way is tied to ideology. This, in brief, shows when designers of power systems know that there are deficiencies that can lead to death, but they proceed in any case on the belief that some people might die now in the quest to prevent large numbers of future deaths, example, as through global warming and climate change.
    We have already seen needless deaths in Texas that can be pinned fairly certainly on a poor balance between renewables and backups like nuclear and fossil fuel generation. I have little doubt that many planners like engineers and the bureaucrats who set the rules are well aware that globally, more renewables in the supply balance will cause more excess deaths from power failures.
    If you accept this general line of reasoning, there are consequences.
    Primarily, a death is a death and throughout recent histories in most countries, a death is a serious matter that usually has an investigation that is aimed at preventing repetitions, if possible. Deaths that are linked to the actions of another person or persons will generally lead to the causative person being interviewed by police, often then arrested, then heard in a court of law to see if punishment shall follow from a guilty verdict.
    This whole aspect of accounting for deaths is missing from our current considerations of out essential service, our electricity supply.
    Simply put, if we have blackouts that cause deaths, those responsible for the blackout should be put through the whole process of interview, arrest, charge, hearing, judgement, sentence. This is not happening now. I argue that it should happen.
    Maybe more safety in design of our electrical generation could be advanced by holding individuals to account for their actions. In particular, if they are found to be acting for ideology rather than for professional excellence, there should be an assumption of guilt unless proved otherwise. We have all heard about deaths from ideology, like the Stalin era and the Pot Pol regime and the Jonestown cyanide deaths.
    If anyone close to me and my family died from a blackout, I would certainly be doing my utmost to see that those who caused it were prosecuted. I would argue that the death was not accidental or inevitable, or an unavoidable cost to society, but was no less than deliberate, premeditated murder of the worst kind. Geoff S

    70

    • #
      Ronin

      I wondered why Texas ERCOT would rather not connect to neighbouring states, maybe they thought that they would end up feeding them and get nothing back.
      If you want to see what big corporates get up to, just look at the Boeing Max 8 debacle, and how a faulty design where one bad input could kill everybody on board, got passed by their own engineering dept and also the FAA licensing dept.

      20

  • #
    Geoff Sherrington

    In essence, I think the fault of the present election is that the Smart People in Media manipulation are too dumb to understand who are the Smart Scientists.
    (The reverse case does not hold).
    That is the major problem behind the rise of the climate change cult. Geoff S

    40

  • #
    Ronin

    As far as toxic S&W go, if they were required to provide their own frequency and voltage stability, their own farm to grid connections and provide fully dispatchable input to the grid, we would then see the true cost of this erratic pretense of power generation.

    40

  • #
    Adellad

    The pseudo Marxist cretins here in SA blew up the Northern power station near Pt Augusta a few years back and in so doing, simultaneously:
    1. Ruined the state’s grid
    2. Ruined Leigh Creek and its huge brown coal mine
    3. Signalled great virtue
    4. Set us hurtling towards a lifestyle most aborigines would have once understood.

    60

    • #
      Ronin

      And just to rub salt into the wound and highlight their daftness, the whole grid went dark in SA after a storm flattened transmission towers, just months after Northern was decommissioned.

      40

    • #
      Graeme No.3

      Actually sub-bitumous black coal. A fairly high water (and volatiles) content. See onyfromOz above at No.20.

      00

      • #
        Graeme No.3

        Sorry, low efficiency but that could have been fixed.
        Even the Victorian invention of pressure removal of water to make black type coal from brown coal. (Banned by Dan).

        00

  • #
    John

    I noted just now here in WA wind power generation is sitting around 20MW wind and an installed capacity of over 600MW. Wind is currently 1.1% of the generation mix. Our saviours is coal at 63% and gas at 33%.

    40

    • #

      It’s also interesting to look at wholesale WA prices for electricity, which are far lower than in the East. Russia may be Russia but some grids have not been affected and the reasons why are interesting. So anyone with info on the SWIS grid (SW WA) please speak up. Gas prices are presumably still lower because of deals done by the WA govt years ago to get cheaper domestic gas from our large NW Shelf gas production, but the coal burnt in WA is black coal mined locally.

      30

  • #

    Thanks Jo for getting all this out there – what a SUPER WOMAN –

    The steadily increasing AEMO wholesale prices over several months now are mainly due to the increasing world coal price. This is heavily influenced by the huge (4 Billion ton per year) coal consumption by China and the facts that their mines are ageing – deepening, hence it is more costly to keep producing the tonnages they want. See article at The Wentworth Report.
    https://wentworthreport.com/further-to-peak-coal-for-the-chicoms/

    IMHO the War is a much lesser factor than the ChicComms running into inevitable production brick walls.

    And of course a corollary of this is that the intergalactic global thermal coal prices(now US$400t) are not likely to quickly see $50 again as a lot of anticoal people are spruiking. Oz could get a GDP and State royalties increase for years out of exports – just when we have big debt to pay down. There would even be room for a Fed Export levy to be directed to pay down debt.

    But just you watch pollies stuff all that up.

    50

    • #
      Dave

      Agree totally Wazz,

      But coal will be still sold with heaps of CO2 credits charged that go to build more wind and solar in Australia.

      ALL of the turbines and panels will come from CHINA!
      Extra $ for the coal but heaps more $ in exports for China.

      They will not lose because the MSM & Political Parties are all so out of touch that Australia will decline quickly!

      Not one new Coal, Nuclear plant will be built.
      Batteries, Wind Mills and Solar Panels will cover the country along with the additional power grid.

      And then Australians will realise they have been conned!

      Candles, wood and grow nyou own here we come!

      30

    • #
      Chad

      wazz
      May 20, 2022 at 5:37 pm · ..
      The steadily increasing AEMO wholesale prices over several months now are mainly due to the increasing world coal price

      I have to say this again…as i think some of you ate missing the point here..
      COAL , GAS, ETC PRICES ARE NOT THE PROBLEM
      Nothing to do with Russia, China. USA, or any overseas influence
      WHOLESALE ELECTRICITY PRICE IS THE PROBLEM.
      and that is strictly a function of artificial market movements resulting from a self constructed , outdated pricing methodology.
      The market is being “played” by the big operators, at our expense.

      30

  • #
    another ian

    Electricity but not Oz

    “Y2Kyoto: State Of Anorexia Envirosa”

    “California to spend $5.2 billion on “electricity reserve” to – -”

    http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/2022/05/20/y2kyoto-state-of-anorexia-envirosa-14/

    Comment

    “That is enough to buy every person in California 509 AA batteries on Amazon”

    I’d say applicable to Oz too

    10

  • #
    KP

    “Solar Feed-in 0.0100”

    In the good ol’ days the price they paid you for power was the main selling point of residential solar..

    00

  • #
  • #
    John

    My day job is in IT infrastructure and for a living I create models to balance supply and demand for the various infrastructure components. The objective is to satisfy an agreed demand agreement, say 99.9% of the time supply is sufficient for demand. To assess supply we calculate for a resource a high water mark for the limit, and then apply to that limit an availability factor (say allow for 1 or 2 servers in a cluster to be unavailable), and then to calculate the supply threshold we apply to that availability adjusted limit, a coefficient for how much of the resource is able to actually be used without its characteristics degrading severely (eg 80% for CPU, 60% storage etc).

    If I was capacity planning electrical supply I would give Solar and Wind (without backup) a coefficient of 0%, it is completely useless in adding to the overall supply as it cannot be counted on. Yes the limit might be impressively high, but the supply threshold would be zero so it does not matter how much of it they have. I would love to know the methodology used for calculating the electrical grid supply threshold, are they incompetent or are they being ignored by the powers-that-be????

    A business case to buy infrastructure that adds nothing to the supply threshold would never get up in the world of IT infrastructure, so why is it getting funded in the world of electrical infrastructure, it just makes no sense.

    20

  • #
    John McBratney

    To add my two-penny worth as an engineer (electronics and electrical) I can only put one reason up as to why solar and wind are getting so much support when any persons of any sense can see they can never provide a steady base load supply – NEVER – CORRUPTION, of some scientists, most politicians and many business people is the reason.
    To add insult to injury we, the paying public, are told storage systems will solve the unreliables problems. Anther load of old rubbish, no storage system will work simply because the grid has to provide about 20% MORE energy than the storage system delivered to re-charge it. It does not matter whether we are talking about batteries (too small anyway) , hydro or the mythical hydrogen, they ALL require re-charge, whilst the grid is supplying its base load – and on many occasions during inclement weather or night time, when the unreliables are of no use whatever.
    Solar and wind generation is a HUGE financial and performance CON, we have all been had!!

    20

  • #

    […] Last week small electricity retailers were bleeding so badly they doubled their prices and asked their customers to leave. […]

    00