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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NSW power so erratically expensive an aluminium smelter powered down three times in a week

The Tomago smelter uses more than 10% of the entire New South Wales electricity grid supply. But the price spikes in electricity are so crippling the industrial giant could not afford to keep running on three occasions in the last week. Welcome to Venezaustralia.

Tomago

And it’s not even winter yet:

Prices were spiking in four states on May 17th.. Thanks to WattClarity.

Tomago aluminium smelter powers down three times in a week due to electricity shortages

A massive 35,000 per cent spike in wholesale power prices due to supply shortages has forced a NSW aluminium smelter to shut down three times in the past week to keep the lights on in Sydney.

The Tomago smelter, which supports more than 1800 local jobs, has had to power down multiple times since May 12 to ensure households across the state have enough power for heating as winter sets in.

Tomago chief executive Matt Howell said the sudden power price hike to $14,500 a megawatt hour was the equivalent of ­petrol prices going up to $400 a litre.

This time it was mega-price-spikes but other days Tomago plays Electricity-Saint for […]

NSW Conservatives drop Toxic Turnbull and climate-angst, fearing voter backlash, UpperClass blame “media conspiracy”

Malcolm Turnbull | | Veni Markovski

Last week the NSW State government foolishly gave Malcolm Turnbull a pedestal to advertise his favourite ideology (and possible also help the investment profile of his son.*) Then they remembered why he was so unpopular he nearly lost the 2016 national election — even though he’d been handed the gift of a record 90 seat majority created by Tony Abbott. They also remembered what a bomb the climate debate is in any election — where 90% of everyone says they care about the climate but almost no one actually votes to try to change global weather.

So one week later, Toxic Turnbull has been dropped like the radioactive-Labor-lite-rock that he is.

What were they thinking? In the last ten years, the only time “climate change” has been a winner is when a politician campaigns against it — like the Axe The Tax plan of 2013. In 2019 Labor lost the unloseable election by being anti-coal. The recent historic crushing of the conservatives in WA who had an anti-coal agenda must have shaken the party controllers to the core.

 

Last week Turnbull was offered the gift position to chair a new body […]

Carbon dioxide radically lower but floods destroy houses, cover beaches in debris across NSW in 1857

Floods are sweeping across NSW and 18,000 people have been evacuated, and rain is forecast to keep coming for til Wednesday. Flooding is described as the worst in 60 years. But that’s the point. There have always been floods right after droughts and fires — and we knew that 150 years ago.

The scandal is that in 1865, scientists had a better grip on what caused them. Today “top” climate scientists think your car causes the weather.

Top science in 2021: Solar panels and windmills could have stopped the flooding:

The multiple natural disasters Australia has experienced over the past 18 months — such as the floods currently ravaging NSW — should be blamed on climate change, say experts from the Climate Council.

“The intense rainfall and floods that have devastated NSW communities are taking place in an atmosphere made warmer and wetter by climate change, which is driven by the burning of coal, oil, and gas,” Climate Council spokesperson Will Steffen said in a statement on Monday.

“For many communities dealing with floods right now, this is the latest in a line of climate change-exacerbated extreme weather events they have […]

Koalas extinct? Hardly. “Nearly everything you have read or heard about koalas is wrong”

Since Europeans arrived Koalas have been booming and busting

The calls were out this week saying that koalas will be extinct in New South Wales in 30 years. But they didn’t mention that Koalas thrive and multiply so fast that in the right conditions scientists talk of ‘plagues’. On Kangaroo Island last year, there were so many koalas, the South Australian government has been trying to sterilize or relocate thousands of them over the last twenty years. Periodically scientists even discuss whether we have to cull them (the horror!).

They’ve survived twenty megafires in 200 years. They can recover. Ponder that Koalas were only introduced to Kangaroo Island in the 1930’s but by the 1990’s there were 14,000 of them and even though they are considered a tourism asset they are also considered a problem and pest too.

“Nearly everything you have read or heard about koalas, is wrong” — Vic Jurskis

Koalas favorite snack | Photo by pen_ash

Vic Jurskis is a veteran forester and fire expert who studied them for years. He’s written The Great Koala Scam, Green propaganda, junk science government waste and cruelty.

Jurskis estimates that thanks to European settlers there are more […]

2019 Wildfires burn 20 times as much land as managed fuel reduction in NSW (so far)

The conversation Australia needs: should we prevent fires with prescribed burns or solar panels?

The wildfires in NSW so far have burned 2,700,000 ha or, if it were one square area –a box 164km x 164km and destroyed at least 720 houses (that was Dec 11).

The dilemma: will it be managed fires, or unmanaged wildfires to reduce the fuel? Or if you are Tim Flannery who says it’s “immoral not to connect the dots“, the question is “how many solar panels will it take to stop those houses burning down?” Or perhaps “how do we stop lightning”?

This is the rough size of the controlled hazard reduction target area, as carried out for NSW compared to the area of “hazard-reduction” by Mother Nature. The area of official hazard reduction by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is 135,000 ha, equivalent to a square of dimensions 36km x 36km. There would be some other private fuel reduction. Can anyone find figures for that?

Australian Wildfires Area, 2019, NSW, December. Map.

 

To protect houses we need a 100m margin (at least) and to burn 20% of the landscape each year.

New South Wales NPWS fire ecologist, […]

Whole of NSW coast shrouded in dust and smoke, 47C in Hunter Valley (75 years ago)

This week 75 years ago. Dust storms, bush fires and unbelievable heat across New South Wales. 118 fahrenheit is 47 degrees C, and there were 100+ temperatures in many places. The sun appearred as a “red sky”. A dust storm created a “terror” in Mildura (just like last week in 2019).

In Parkes, it was the worst dry spell on record. People were going without milk because the cows have died. Thanks to Siliggy, Lance Pidgeon. Holy apocalypse!

RAGING DUST FURY INLAND, STRANGE CITY LIGHT GLOW The Sun, November 1944

The air was calm in Sydney today, but diffusion of sunlight through a dense blanket of fine dust bathed the city in a strange orange glow. Practically the whole of the NSW coast this morning lay under a shroud of yellowish-red dust and bushfire smoke blown from inland regions.

Maximum temperature in Sydney today was 98.7 degrees at 2.55 pm. Early reports at the Weather Bureau today indicated that a heatwave, unprecedented in intensity, was raging’ practically everywhere in northern, western and southern NSW.

Temperatures in many centres remained at over 100 degrees throughout the week-end. At Jerry’s Plains, Hunter Valley district, the mercury […]

Blockbuster: 178 years of Australian rain has nothing to do with CO2, worst extremes 1849, 1925, 1950

Remarkable! A new study by Ashcroft, Karoly and Dowdy pieces together an extraordinary 178 years of rainfall data from Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. This is a rare study that brings in much older data, looking at trends and extremes. This is pretty much the ultimate long term rainfall paper for South East Australia. Henceforth, there shalt be no more headlines about “unprecedented” rainfall or area’s drying out “due to climate change” unless an event rates against this data…

Australia – a land of floods and droughts: Rainfall goes up and down in long ongoing cycles or change, but no obvious trend that matches the sharp rise of CO2 in the last 30 years. It’s almost like CO2 has no detectable effect… The worst extremes were for the most part — long ago — particularly in the 1840s (assuming those records are reliable). Almost nothing in the last 30 years is unusual or unprecedented despite humans putting out 50% of all our CO2 since 1989. These charts show how misleading it is to use graphs that start in 1970 (or even in 1910) and declare that the recent changes are meaningful, or caused by CO2.

The researchers also use newspaper archives […]

Legally it’s the wrong time? Coal mine rejected by judge who hopes to change weather

Sometimes we have laws, and sometimes it’s the wrong time for them

A judgement today in a minor NSW court banned a coal mine in the hope of making storms and floods nicer for our great grandchildren. Curiously, it was not the much hated thermal coal mine, it was a coking coal mine – the stuff we use in making steel. It takes 600 kilograms of coal to make one ton of steel and Australian coking coal is considered some of the world’s best. It follows that either the world uses a bit less steel, or it buys the coal from somewhere else. Does the judge have something against steel? Let’s melt down wind turbines and solar panels instead.

Most likely the world will buy the coal from somewhere else. It will likely be less pure and more polluting with few environmental controls or worker’s rights, but hey-de-ho, Judge Preston is not there to worry about environmental global concerns. It’s not like he’s a judge in the NSW Land and Environment Court. Oh…

Effectively, an Australian court decided to increase global pollution by blocking a clean coal mine*. As usual, there is no scientific or legal consistency; No principle apart […]

Welcome to renewables world: Australia plans for blackouts, throws billions of dollars, but ABC says it will get “cheaper”

The fear is palpable

How much fun can you have living in a global experiment? In Australia, peak summer is about to hit in a post-Hazelwood-electricity-grid. There’s a suite of committee reports as summer ramps up. Everyday there’s another Grid story in the press, and a major effort going on to avoid a meltdown. Minister Josh Frydenberg announced today that “we’ve done everything possible to prevent mass blackouts”. Or as he calls it, a repeat of the South Australian Horror Show. Politicians are so afraid of another SA-style-system-black that they are throwing money: The “Snowy Hydro Battery” will be another $2 billion. Whatever. It’s other people’s money.

This is what they are afraid of:

The red bars mean “Reserve Shortfall”. The dark blue matter is “Generation”. The graph covers two years (sorry about the quality) so the two red bursts are summer 2018 and summer 2019.

SA Medium Term Forecast, Outlook, AEMO, Nov 16th 2017, South Australia.

Oddly we are headed for a critical time, but this’s the most recent graph I can find — thanks to Wattclarity — from November 16th, 2017. (Here’s an earlier version from March 2017. and from Dec 2016). Perhaps there is a newer […]

Australia, Denmark, Germany vie to win Highest Global Electricity Cost! (It’s the Nobel Price Prize?)

It’s not even close: If South Australia seceded it would have the highest electricity price of any nation on Earth.

Australian Households pay highest power prices in the World, AFR.

South Australian households are paying the highest prices in the world at 47.13¢ per kilowatt hour, more than Germany, Denmark and Italy which heavily tax energy, after the huge increases on July 1, Carbon + Energy Markets’ MarkIntell data service says.

When the eastern states’ National Electricity Market was formed in the late 1990s, Australia had the lowest retail prices in the world along with the United States and Canada, CME director Bruce Mountain said.

The Markintell report graph:

Hmm — odd coincidence of Price with Wind Energy Penetration:

Wind energy is “free” but countries with the most wind power are also the most likely to get to the top of the Prize Pool for exorbitant electricity. Wind energy penetration is highest in Denmark (1st), Portugul (8th), Ireland (6th), Spain (11th), Germany (3rd). Conversely, renewable energy penetration is low in places at the tail end of the price curve like Luxemburg 6%, Estonia 15%, Hungary 7%, Lithuania 15.5%. In the low mid price […]