September 22nd 2018


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Water, water everywhere, but not for the farmers

EDITORIAL Power companies in clover after closures

CANBERRA OBSERVED Liberals in need of an internal peacemaker

ENERGY Solar, wind dependence will add $1300 to power bills, engineers, scientists warn

LIFE ISSUES Queensland life march busts media stereotypes

ENVIRONMENTAL POLITICS Unmask activists disguised as nature lovers

FOREIGN AFFAIRS China takes up challenge to imitate and overtake America

CHINA AND AUSTRALIA Paul Monk thunders at kowtowing former pollies

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Hawaii: Pearl of the Pacific

BOOK EXCERPT From Patrick J. Byrne's book, Transgender: One Shade of Grey

FREE SPEECH University of Western Australia blinks again

LIFE ISSUES Queensland law will open floodgates to sex-selective abortion

HUMOUR

MUSIC Pop and singing: A certain antagonism

CINEMA Christopher Robin: The best something comes from nothing

BOOK REVIEW A so-called industry with only a dark side

BOOK REVIEW Population see-saw changes direction

LETTERS

POETRY

EUTHANASIA No concoction can kill peacefully

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ENERGY
Solar, wind dependence will add $1300 to power bills, engineers, scientists warn


by Chris McCormack

News Weekly, September 22, 2018

A paper sent to federal government ministers, shadow ministers and premiers by a group of engineers and scientists has warned of major price hikes for energy users if wind and solar energy keeps replacing baseload power.

The paper, produced by Electric Power Consulting (EPC), lays out six different power generation scenarios in the National Electricity Market (NEM) and the resulting power costs expected. It exposes once again the lie that more renewables in the electricity grid equals lower power prices.

Under a 100 per cent renewable energy scenario comprising solar photovoltaics (PV), wind and hydro, with support from pumped storage and some battery storage, the system levelised cost of energy (SLCOE) would increase to $415.50 per megawatt hour (MWh), as compared with the current SLCOE of $68.87/MWh, or a 503 per cent increase in cost.

SLCOE is defined as “the average cost of producing electric energy from the combination of generation technologies chosen for the system over its entire lifetime, discounted back to today at 6 per cent per annum”.

Another scenario studied was the power generation makeup advocated by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) in its 2018 Integrated System Plan (ISP) stretching till 2040, released in July. Under this model, of retaining existing resources until their end of life, plus renewables, pumped hydro, flexible gas-powered generation and distributed energy resources, AEMO painted a bright picture saying, these “are emerging as core components to a low-cost and reliable energy future”.

However, the EPC paper concludes that this scenario, where end-of-life coal plants are replaced with renewables and gas to the point where renewables make up 65 per cent of electricity generation, would equate to an SLCOE of $247.44/MWh, or a 260 per cent increase in price over the current cost of energy. According to an article in The Australian, this would equate to a $1374 a year increase in power prices for the average household.

Other scenarios included replacing all coal-fired power generation (which currently comprise 78 per cent of our base-load power needs) with nuclear energy or replacing it with combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) generated electricity. With nuclear replacing coal, the cost of energy would increase 31 per cent to $90.23/MWh; while replacement with CCGT would see energy produced at $75.36/MWh, or increase 9.4 per cent.

All six scenarios envision increased cost of energy from the present day. What wasn’t studied was new coal-fired power generation replacing end-of-life coal plants. With at least 300 years’ worth of coal sitting in the ground, Australia is blessed with access to low-cost energy. And existing coal plants could be upgraded, and new, high-efficiency, low-emissions (HELE) ones built, for far less than building new nuclear power plants would cost.

A House of Representatives Standing Committee on Industry and Resources 2006 report concluded that “nuclear power would be 20–50 per cent more expensive than coal”. Westinghouse, in its evidence to the nuclear royal commission in 2015 estimated that its AP1000 nuclear power plant generating 1,117 MW, and including the cost of land, could be built in Australia for $17.5 billion. Conversely, the cost of a 1000 MW HELE coal-fired power plant has been estimated at $2.2 billion.

The Pacific Island Forum just held in Nauru expects Australia to contribute $2.08 billion to a climate resilience fund, despite zero evidence that Pacific islands are being inundated from so-called “anthropogenic climate change”. Apparently, we can squander billions of dollars on virtue signalling, but nothing on saving our economy.

Coal is still by far the cheapest form of energy, with Queensland’s Kogan Creek HELE plant producing electricity for as little as $35/MWh last year according to a “Fuel and Technology Cost Review” by ACIL Allen Consulting.

In the last decade, 5,200 MW of base-load power was withdrawn from the National Electricity Market, with only 260 MW of base-load replaced. Intermittent renewables replaced another 2,340 MW, built as a result of taxpayer-funded subsidies handed out as part of federal and state renewable energy targets, this year totalling $3.6 billion.

AEMO chief executive Audrey Zibelman said in May 2017 that turning off the power would help the electricity system manage peak demand in real time, without the need for new fossil-fuel generation. Federal and state governments are offering tens of millions of dollars to business and households to shut off their power. This preposterous “solution” ignores AEMO’s own warning that the closure of Liddell power station in 2022 would threaten 200,000 homes with repeated blackouts unless new large-scale base-load power generation was built by then.

For AEMO and governments to promote intermittent, unreliable renewables and then turn around and tell industry to shut down whenever there’s an energy shortfall, costing them productivity and Australian jobs, beggars belief. And to think we call ourselves a clever country!

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg predicted electric vehicle (EV) ownership would explode from the current fleet of 4000 to 1 million by 2030. If this turns out to be the case, then, when up to a million EV owners plug their vehicles in to charge each night, a grid based largely on solar and wind would collapse.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison can reverse the Government’s electoral woes by actually doing something to deal with the energy crisis: namely, resetting the energy-policy landscape from one obsessed with meaningless and economically suicidal emissions targets to one that prioritises Australian jobs and lower electricity prices.

By ditching the Paris Climate Agreement, removing renewable energy subsidies and encouraging/building coal-fired power stations – who knows? – they may even win the next election and some state governments may then see the light.




























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