JoNova

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


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“Fossil Fuels are a strategic asset” say people watching UK and EU perfect gas storm

It’s not even winter yet but suddenly all eyes are on the gas prices

Gas through the roof…

Thanks to fear of climate change voodoo many nations in the EU have effectively stopped exploring for gas and decided not to frack their shale deposits to get cheap gas too. (In Australia too). Vainglorious governments aimed to change the weather instead of having cheap electricity and lo, wind-towers were built everywhere.

What could possibly go wrong? Nearly everything.

Even the massive size of the European market hasn’t saved them from price rises so large that retail suppliers are collapsing, and fertilizer factories are closing.

Its a great way to give your enemies the upper hand

The wind drought in spring and summer meant that wind farms failed. Then the Russians squeezed gas supply in to the EU looking suspiciously like they were hoping to push up prices and pressure Germany into approving the controversial Nordstream 2 pipeline. Now the Kremlin is suggesting a quick approval will alleviate the gas shortage (they’re just trying to help). In the latest news one large interconnector between the UK and France has suffered a fire and broken down and won’t be restored til […]

Renewable bandaid burns money: New transmission line alone costs as much as new advanced Coal Plant

The Humelink transmission line does not connect a single large city.

Just another hidden renewable subsidy.

Boy O boy, that bill blew out fast:

Households could be up for $2b electricity transmission cost blowout

Peter Hannan, Sydney Morning Herald

Transgrid now expects its proposed HumeLink – a 500-kilovolt line connecting Wagga Wagga, Bannaby and Maragle – to cost $3.317 billion, up from $1.35 billion estimated in January 2020. That would make it “by far the most expensive transmission project” in Australia, said Bruce Mountain, director of the Victoria Energy Policy Centre…

NSW Households will be forced to pay $60 per year above their already-inflated-costs whether they want renewable energy or think windmills are a bird-killing, shamanistic health-hazard that won’t stop storms, floods or droughts any better than crystal shields do.

We can see why the government won’t let people choose to buy green power voluntarily.

Transgrid said the steel and materials costs more, but wow, golly, there was also a bill for “environmental offsets” through the Kosciuszko national park of an eye-watering, wait for it, $935 million. Perhaps they are transplanting the trees they cut […]

Guest post by Rafe Champion. Will it work to press on with more wind and solar power with existing storage technology?

PS: From Jo. Rafe Champion has been posting at the lost Catallaxy site for years so I offered him a home to try to fill the vacuum on Australian blogs for discussion on energy issues.

The dilemma Australia faces is that if we keep stuffing subsidized unreliable energy into the system we will force stable fuels out, and be carbon free, but we will also be free of 50Hz cycles, 24 hour power, aluminium plants, and manufacturing jobs. Policy-dreamers are using magical words like “battery” and “pumped hydro” as if Australia is a scaled up Mechano Truck run on Monopoly-money and we can expect reliable rain for the first time in 2 billion years.

by Steve Hunter

The Energy Security Board, chaired by Kerry Schott, has at last delivered a report to the Federal Government with proposals for market reforms to resolve a looming crisis in the national power supply or at least the NEM, the National Energy Market that covers the south-eastern states, excluding WA. The crisis is twofold – increasing grid instability and the threat of supply if coal plants are forced out of business prematurely. Both of those issues arise from […]

Approaching a tipping point in the power supply

Guest post by Rafe Champion

We are installing wind and solar power at a great rate and the expectation is that this will go on and RE will increasingly penetrate the system as coal power fades away. In the SE we still have just enough conventional power to get by almost all the time but the tipping point will come when we lose another couple of coal stations and we will need to have a continuous supply of RE. There will not be enough conventional power to keep the lights on through windless nights. The point is that RE can DISPLACE coal power but not REPLACE it.

Note from Jo: With the sad demise of Catallaxy, I invited Rafe to continue here blogging about energy and electricity in Australia. So the format of the blog will flex somewhat to try to fill some of that void.

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Big batteries could be bigger bombs than Beirut Fertilizer

Sudden tragic release of stored chemical energy in Beirut

It turns out storing Megawatts of high density energy in a confined space is “like a bomb”. Who could have seen that coming, apart from everyone who understands what a megawatt is?

Clean, green, noisy and explosive.

And they are “unregulated” in the UK.

GWPF

UK’s giant battery ‘farms’ spark fears of explosions that can reach temperatures of 660C

Amy Oliver Mail on Sunday

…according to a troubling new report from leading physicists, these vast batteries amount to electrical bombs with the force of many hundreds of tons of TNT.

With the potential for huge explosions, fires and clouds of toxic gas, they could devastate towns and villages nearby, says Wade Allison, emeritus professor of physics at Oxford University and co-author of the report.

The batteries, designed as reservoirs of spare electricity for when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun fails to shine, are spreading around the British countryside. And this, says Prof Allison and his fellow scientists, could spell catastrophe.

It’s like a potential bomb,’ he says. ‘When batteries catch fire, you can’t just squirt water on […]

Wind power “headed for disaster” in Germany

Is this the future of wind all over the world? The salad days of wind power in Germany are over. Bad news is rolling in from several directions. Twenty years of hope-n-subsidies has run aground. Profits are grinding down, and hardly any new towers are being erected. People are fighting back against the noise, the views, and the bird chopping. Conservationists might like the idea of wind, as long as it’s in someone else’s forest. Suddenly groups that oppose wind towers are gaining traction, and the red tape and legal battles have grown wings and settled on new developments like a bat plague.

New turbines are now supposed to be two kilometers from any home, and there just isn’t enough spare land to build them on. German wind farms are running out of Germany.

If only they were profitable and provided an essential service, they might still have friends.

Wind energy in crisis as expansion stalls in Germany

Alex Reichmuth; Nebelspalter, via GWPF

Lengthy planning and approval procedures stand in the way of the expansion of wind energy. There is too little designated space for possible locations and too many lawsuits against projects. The resistance to […]

Nothing shows how pathetic solar and battery power are like the pitiful celebrations

Strap yourself in: Solar Power and batteries made a whole town 100% renewable (for 80 minutes).

It’s an Australian first! Put out a press release. No seriously, they did:

Solar and battery microgrid takes WA town to 100% renewables in Australian first

Western Australia has again demonstrated its remote renewable energy generation chops, after successfully powering the Pilbara town of Onslow entirely on a combination of large and small-scale solar and battery storage for a total of 80 minutes.

Only 520,000 minutes short of a whole year.

“The milestone achievement was announced by WA energy minister Bill Johnston on Friday morning after being demonstrated by state government-owned regional utility Horizon Power, which established the solar and storage microgrid next to an existing gas plant.”

Onslow is a metropolis of 847 people sited in one of the sunniest zones in one of the sunniest countries in the world. With at least 3650 hours of sun a year, Onslow vies for a top ten position globally.

If solar power was going to make it anywhere, this would be it. But we all know what keeps the lights on in Onslow and it isn’t solar power.

The […]

Queensland’s Near Miss: hydrogen may have exploded at a coal plant (and renewables don’t save the day)

Tuesday was a wild day for Queensland Electricity. An explosion struck the Callide C Power Plant triggering a cascade of other plants to switch off within seconds. The massive 2.5GW fall in supply took the grid frequency in Brisbane to a hair raising 49.55Hz. How close did it come to falling over? Half a million people lost power for a couple of hours but a Statewide blackout was averted. Luckily no one was hurt.

Meanwhile the people in power were not saying “Hydrogen”, or “explosion” but the Supercritical Units at Callide are cooled with hydrogen, and there was an explosion. The owner CS Energy called it just “a fire”. But in other news reports people in the nearest town said it was “the loudest explosion they have ever heard”.

Hydrogen, it seems, is used in some coal plants as a coolant, but Holy Hindenberg, it is known to explode. (See Ohio in 2007, Pittsburg in 2017 and India, 2019) . A Union official said it appeared the hydrogen filled generator of the main turbine had suffered a catastrophic failure. And it’s all exquisitely awkward, as David Archibald points out, happening while a two day Hydrogen Conference is on — as […]

Fifty years of failed renewables predictions

For five decades, experts have been predicting renewable energy would supply 20 – 50% of the US Electricity Grid. Instead it’s taken twice as long to get to one fifth of the original prediction. (And to get to that pitiful 10%, that includes Hydropower).

Renewable Energy is the wordsmiths Great Hopium. The seductive temptation of “free energy” rolls on, never mind about the vast infrastructure and land it takes to capture a low density energy source. The price for “free fuel” is expensive maintenance, costly transmission, extra stability charges, and eye-bleeding storage costs (or an entire national spare grid for “back up?”).

For fifty years people have been overestimating the renewables transition.

The graphs comes from the JPMorgan, Energy Review. Even back in 1970, the need for 24 hour supply and frequency stability were well known.

A search online did not find a copy anywhere of Bent Sorensen’s original 1970-ish prediction, but it did find about 500 articles and nine of his books, showing that if at first you don’t succeed, you can make a career out of it.

Joe Biden is also marching down Failure Boulevard:

What are the odds?

Globally we used to get […]

Wednesday’s mass failure of $20 billion worth of Wind power in Australia

What grows on a wind “farm” ? Debt-cows

On Wednesday nearly all the wind generators in the country failed. About 4,000 turbines across five states of Australia were hit by some kind of simultaneous fuel crisis. At one point all the wind power in our national grid was only making 3% of Australia’s electricity, and that was the best part of the day. At its worst, all those turbines produced about 1.2% of the power we needed. It was that bad.

Across the nation, something like $15 to $20 billion dollars of infrastructure ground to a halt.

Welcome to the clean green energy future:

The black line in this image is the total power generation across the day, and that equates equally to power consumption across the day. The green colour rolling along the bottom is wind generation, all of it, across the day. Who pays for the battery back up for these dysfunctional non-farms?

As Rafe Champion would say — it was a “choke point” all day.

It would be nice to believe this incident was due to all the old failing wind towers that used to be reliable workhorses. If only. Then there would be hope […]