A Tribute to Wind-Watchers

The time has come to face the fact that the transition to renewable green energy has gone as far as it can go with existing storage technology.

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe, the Federal Government is planning to legislate for a more ambition RE target and the push to get rid of coal dominates the public debate.

Several times a year there are periods with next to no wind across the whole of South Eastern Australia, the National Energy Market (NEM).

These “wind droughts” can be described as icebergs in the path of the RE Titanic.

Who knows about wind droughts?

Very few people pay close attention to the wind apart from cyclists, sailors and spin bowlers. For many years dedicated wind-watchers have been trying to sound a warning about the “icebergs” but the captain and passengers on the RE Titanic remain blissfully unaware.

This is a very strange situation. Obviously the supply of wind is critical for wind power in the way that the water supply is fundamental for irrigation but the  windpower industry has apparently been built without bothering about wind droughts. Billions of dollars have been spent on wind and solar facilities that deliver no power on windless night

We developed a false sense of security because nobody had to worry about the wind supply or even think about it when we had enough conventional (mostly coal) power to provide energy security. However over the last two decades eleven coal power stations have closed in SE Australia. Some of the 19 remaining are near the end of their working lives and one of them has started to phase out (Liddell, in NSW.)

AT THE TIPPING POINT

We have reached a critical tipping point. If we lose any more fossil power capacity then at times of peak demand some input from the wind and sun will be necessary. Previously it did not matter whether the sun shone or the wind blew because the wind and solar plants were just expensive ornaments attached to the grid.

As plans proceed to get rid of coal, then every wind drought will threaten the power supply and prolonged wind droughts will be catastrophic.

The recent convulsions and price explosions in the system will become chronic.

No power-intensive industry will be viable unless the coal plants are kept on line in good running order for the foreseeable future.

If the coal capacity is not maintained, then more gas will have to be burned at crippling cost.

The official response is to accelerate the rollout of windmills and solar panels but these make no contribution to the grid on windless nights. Building more capacity does not help, any more than having a big petrol tanks in a car helps when it is empty.

All of this this would appear to be stating the bleeding obvious but it apparently eluded the masterminds of the electricity system that we have today.

Wind and solar power can displace coal power but not replace it.

After Hazelwood closed in 2017 the Market Operator warned that we were running with inadequate space capacity. As Liddell started to phase out, unscheduled outages produced the predictable result.

Completely windless nights hardly ever happen but there are frequent and prolonged periods with critically low levels of wind across the whole of the SE Australia.

This has been well-known for many years among the veteran windwatchers like “Tony from Oz” (Anthony Lang) and Paul Miskelly.  

Tony monitored all forms of power generation and his first tentative comments on a blog in 2008 became a series that continues up to the present, including a daily wind report. This monumental body of work is practically invisible apart from references on Jo Nova’s blog and the output of the Energy Realists of Australia.

In 2012 Paul Miskelly published a landmark study of windpower generation in the NEM in the journal Energy and Environment. Looking at the  output from all the registered windfarms over a 12-month period showed found numerous periods when there was next to no wind across the sub-continent.

He warned that this would happen whenever high pressure meteorological systems lingered for periods up to several days.

In recent years Paul McArdle of WattClarity and the independent analyst Mike O’Ceirin have charted the wind records from the AEMO since 2010. Mike O’Ceirin’s interactive site.

Tony from Oz is a veteran wind watcher. He provides very helpful daily and weekly summaries of the power situation.

https://papundits.wordpress.com/?s=OzWindPowerGenerationTFO

This is the Introduction to his comprehensive wind generation series. power-generation-data-introduction-with-permanent-link-to-daily-posts/

The installed capacity and the average generation (29% of installed capacity) have grown steadily but the output at the lowest points of wind supply stuck near the bottom of the chart. (When you multiply a very small number by five or ten you still get a very small number.)  This means that it is not feasible to overbuild the wind capacity to compensate for wind droughts.

Three strategies are proposed to fill the gaps during low-wind periods. Call them the “holy trinity.”

(1) More transmission lines to carry spare power in parts of the NEM to areas that are short, (2) batteries and (3) pumped hydro storage.

Transmission lines are obviously no help during NEM-wide wind droughts because there is no spare wind power anywhere.

The capacity of the so-called “big batteries” is negligible compared with the amount of power consumed in the grid. Moore’s law (exponentially increasing capacity) does not apply to energy storage.

Pumped hydro is not a contender at the scale required because the major Snowy2.0 scheme will only be a partial replacement for a single coal power station. Moreover it comes with a massive financial and environmental cost. There is the problem of finding a dozen more sites for similar schemes.

Everyone needs to become wind-literate to understand the cause of the green power problem, the icebergs that threaten the RE Titanic.

This can easily be achieved by glancing regularly at the “NemWatch widget” ideally for discussion at breakfast and dinnertime. Search for the widget on your phone or computer.

Observe at a glance the amount of power that is being generated in each state, with colour codes to indicate the sources – black coal, brown coal, red for gas and green for wind.

See how often there is very little green!

DUE DILIGENCE

RE enthusiasts will call “foul, focussing on the gaps in the supply is cherry-picking!”

Not so. This is due diligence, like looking for the defective rungs in a ladder before you use it, finding the defective part in the aero-engine that could crash the plane.

The failure of supply during wind droughts is not a bug in the RE system, it is a feature.

It will persist for a decade or three until some new form of storage is available or nuclear power is installed and the RE facilities will be stranded assets.

44 thoughts on “A Tribute to Wind-Watchers”

  1. An excellent summary. Have been following your posts for a few years. Well done.

    Unfortunately our politicians seem unable to see what is blatantly obvious and we are now suffering for their total lack of planning or common sense.

    Special mention to the Green and Teal types who will see their dreams come true as the country loses manufacturing and jobs and businesses and the poor have problems paying their bills.


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  2. Good morning Rafe, thank you for the time, trouble and energy you put into these posts they are informative, current and gratefully appreciated.


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  3. The average punter will not take any notice of this energy hay ride over the cliff until his-her-that-they-them are sitting in the dark and wondering wtf happened.


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  4. The headline in the Spencer Street Soviet (aka the Melbourne “Age”) today says the AEMO is calling for more ruinables because they are worried that coal fired power stations will all be gone in the next 10-15 years. As I write this on a clear sunny windless morning, thermal fossil fuelled power is supplying 77% of the grid with hydro another 13%. That’s 90%. Solar & wind together is 8%.

    There are some “interesting” times coming.


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  5. I despair.

    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/put-renewables-on-fast-track-says-aemo/news-story/9d8c372a37f3ee2d10b43ea135211be0

    Put renewables on fast track, says AEMO

    Nearly two-thirds of all coal capacity will be shut down by 2030 under the AEMO’s plan.

    PERRY WILLIAMS
    SENIOR BUSINESS WRITER

    12:00AM JUNE 30, 2022. 223 COMMENTS

    Australia must accelerate a move away from coal to renewables and storage and urgently sanction more than $10bn of transmission projects to escape the ongoing threat of blackouts and high power prices amid a national ­energy crisis.

    The Australian Energy Market Operator, which runs the ­national electricity network, said the country was undergoing a “complex, rapid and irreversible” change to its energy system that would need a nine-fold increase in wind and solar capacity by 2050 to meet the nation’s net-zero emissions targets.

    The energy supply crunch that forced the suspension of the country’s power market for the first time this month underscored the need for the Australian electricity grid to curb its exposure to the volatile commodities of coal and gas and fast-track cheap renewables backed up by storage, the AEMO said.

    “I think recent events in Australia and overseas have really just underscored the need for ­urgent investment in renewables, firming and transmission so that we can de-link ourselves from these international factors and provide Australian homes and businesses with the most affordable, secure and reliable energy,” AEMO chief executive Daniel Westerman told The Australian.

    Power and gas prices have soared in Australia this year, with the surge linked to international factors such as the Ukraine war, a global gas crunch and Australia’s reliance on old coal-fired power stations.

    Some 150 gigawatts of energy supplies, nearly triple the current generation and storage capacity of the Australian market, has been proposed by companies and investors by 2032 with large-scale solar and wind backed up by battery storage accounting for 88 per cent of the project pipeline.

    G7 leaders have pointed to gas as a critical fuel to guide the world’s biggest economies through a global energy crisis, but Energy Minister Chris Bowen said Australia must accelerate a shift to greater renewable ­supplies.

    “One source of energy that no geopolitical situation can interrupt in relation to our supply chains and that’s the sun to our land-mass and the wind on and off our shores. That’s good energy security and storing that is a matter of national security,” Mr Bowen told the National Press Club.

    The final version of AEMO’s blueprint for power grid investment over the next 30 years, known as the integrated system plan, is released on Thursday and largely retains the set of assumptions and forecasts made in a draft paper released in December 2021 under a “step-change” scenario seen as the most likely path forward by the industry.

    Nearly two-thirds of all coal capacity will be shut down by 2030 under the AEMO’s plan.

    The exit of coal, which provides more than 60 per cent of current electricity capacity, will require triple the current levels of hydro, gas and batteries to replace the fossil fuel by 2050, with ­double the amount of electricity needed as transport, heating, cooking and industrial processes are electrified.

    A third of detached homes already have solar on their rooftops in Australia and that will jump to over half of homes by 2032, growing to 65 per cent by 2050.

    While some 8GW of coal is currently set to exit by 2030, the AEMO predicts that could nearly double to 14GW by the end of the decade, given the number of generators bringing forward retirement of ageing plants.

    All of Victoria’s brown coal plants would be retired by 2032 under the plan, compared with plans by Alinta to run Loy Yang B until 2047.

    “The gas and coal price volatility hitting global energy markets from the first half of 2022 ­places additional pressure on the profitability of Australia’s generators, raising uncertainty – and the possibility of unexpected early closures,” the AEMO said.

    Energy and Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen says the Albanese government will not “entertain” anything which is inconsistent with their mandate and agenda. Mr Bowen’s comes as the Greens are seeking a temporary…

    Still, it warned that poor co-­ordination of coal plant shutdowns could quickly pressure energy prices and system reliability, given the risk that replacement generation and transmission may not be installed in time.

    Breakdowns of coal units have contributed to tight supplies and the threat of blackouts in Australia’s eastern states along with soaring power bills, but the AEMO said the current energy crisis underlined the need to fast-track a move to clean energy.

    The AEMO strengthened its language on transmission, saying five major projects covering 10,000km to connect up new renewables supplies needed to be built “as urgently as possible” as fears grow that big storage schemes like Snowy 2.0 may see new supplies stranded if developments are not delivered on time.

    The five schemes are the Hume­Link connecting the expanded Snowy Hydro scheme to southern NSW; the VNI West interconnector between NSW and Victoria; a boost to the existing network outside Sydney’s Ring; and the giant New England renewable energy zone connection.

    The Marinus Link, a second power cable connecting Tasmania to Victoria, is already delayed by two years and will not start until 2029.

    Labor has proposed a $20bn

    Rewiring the Nation fund to ensure the grid is rebuilt to accommodate growing sources of solar and wind and the AEMO said more government support might be needed given the urgency to deliver new transmission including Canberra underwriting or investing in the facilities.

    “For each of the five transmission projects that we’re talking about, what we’re calling for is for them to be progressed as urgently as possible,” Mr Westerman said.


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  6. What despairing is that a couple of days analysis of readily available BOM data (solar and wind) makes the probability of these wind and solar droughts completely known.


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  7. It has been clear for a long time that gas is the firming energy required. But we have allowed our domestic market to fail to the extent that we have shortages of gas. This when Australia is one of the largest LNG exporters in the world. With old plant, it’s hardly surprising that they become unreliable. But if you make them less than optimal, as we have, the maintenance becomes expensive. So now we have about 8 large base load units off line.
    All of this has been clearly coming for a while but no action was taken to ensure local gas supply or match up base load plant investments. It gets worse from here because the staging of base load retirements is compressing in time and we have no pipeline of base load investments.
    For this we can thank every government since about 2011.


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  8. [Un]Trained [Non]Observer

    It has been clear for a long time that gas is the firming energy required. But we have allowed our domestic market to fail to the extent that we have shortages of gas.

    All of this has been clearly coming for a while but no action was taken to ensure local gas supply or match up base load plant investments.

    Perhaps if certain state governments had not banned exploration for gas on and off-shore, then the supplies would be available (or, at least, in near prospect)?

    Throw the lot of them out, for incompetence at best, and malicious sabotage more likely. All because they fear the Slime and the media.


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  9. Geez, I thought people who keep their own rain gauges and write the daily results down in a Varna exercise book were the most boring people on earth. I stand corrected, as wind watchers are clearly more boring.


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  10. MatrixTransformsays:
    June 30, 2022 at 8:58 am
    Open Nem is very good

    indeed it is – thanks for the link.

    .. and to think, back in 2010, power was averaging less than $30/MWh

    It shows why the suppliers love renewables..

    For the last 12 months, batteries (~80% round-trip efficient) – buy at $95/MWh, sell at $195


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  11. m0ntysays:
    June 30, 2022 at 10:43 am
    Geez, I thought people who keep their own rain gauges and write the daily results down in a Varna exercise book were the most boring people on earth. I stand corrected, as wind watchers are clearly more boring.

    much better living in your basement and dreaming about unicorn farts to power the world.


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  12. m0ntysays:
    June 30, 2022 at 10:43 am
    “Geez, I thought people who keep their own rain gauges and write the daily results down in a Varna exercise book were the most boring people on earth. I stand corrected, as wind watchers are clearly more boring.”

    Sure, why not?
    Lot’s of “boring” things are pretty important – like accounting, for example. It ain’t rocket science, it just takes careful attention to detail and time. But you can’t run your business without it.
    And you can’t run an electricity grid on wind and solar alone – as demonstrated by the “accounting” that has already been done, and which you find “boring”.
    Note that I am not disagreeing with you that it’s boring – it is. But important, none the less.
    And just like accounting, it is pretty much ignored until the last minute.
    That might work for your tax return, where you can get it done in a few weeks, but building a power station takes decades, and we don’t even have them in the planning stage.
    We will have to spend a shit-ton of cash to get coal plants like Liddell back on-line when the inevitable happens – and that’s assuming we don’t wreck them thinking we’ll not need them again.
    The chaos of AEMO grid going down will be epic, and I am NOT looking forward to it.
    But all we can do now is start planning for the worst, and start planning for building new, reliable FF generation.
    Which we won’t – because “the environment”, and because “renewables are the FUTURE!”
    I suggest you buy your piano wire now – while you still can.


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  13. AEMO releases 30-year electricity market roadmap – PDF 104 Pages – 30/06/2022

    The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) today published the 2022 Integrated System Plan (ISP), outlining a 30-year roadmap of investments for the National Electricity Market (NEM).

    AEMO has involved more than 1,500 stakeholders – including policy makers, governments, consumers and energy industry representatives – to produce its third ISP, based on rigorous economic and engineering analysis.

    AEMO CEO, Daniel Westerman, said: “Australia is experiencing a complex, rapid and irreversible energy transformation.”

    “The 2022 ISP informs Australia’s energy transformation, based on an ‘optimal development path’ of essential transmission investments that will efficiently enable low-cost, firmed renewable energy to replace exiting coal generation.

    “These transmission projects are forecast to deliver $28 billion in net market benefits, returning 2.2 times their cost of $12.7 billion, which represents just 7% of the total generation, storage and network investment in the NEM,” he said.

    The ODP identifies five projects as immediately actionable which should progress as urgently as possible: HumeLink, VNI West, Marinus Link, Sydney Ring and New England REZ Transmission Link. While delivery dates are as advised by project proponents, earlier delivery would provide valuable insurance for any faster transition or additional benefits to consumers.

    As part of developing the ISP AEMO and stakeholders identified the most likely future for the NEM, called the ‘step change’ scenario, having considered ageing generation plants, technical innovation, economics, government policies, energy security and consumer choice.

    “The step change scenario forecasts annual electricity consumption from the grid will double by 2050, as transport, heating, cooking and industrial processes are electrified and 60% of current coal generation exiting by 2030,” Mr Westerman said.

    “To maintain a secure, reliable and affordable electricity supply for consumers through this transition to 2050, investment is required for a nine-fold increase in grid-scale wind and solar capacity, triple the firming capacity (dispatchable storage, hydro and gas-fired generation) and a near five-fold increase in distributed solar,” he said.

    Mr Westerman said that the need to cost-effectively deliver the investment in firmed renewables has gathered momentum in recent months.

    “We’ve recently seen market dynamics exhibiting the step change scenario, including accelerated coal-fired power station closures. In addition, generation unavailability and high commodity prices further highlight the need to invest in the transmission plan outlined in the ISP to support firmed renewables,” Mr Westerman said.

    “The ISP will help industry participants, investors, governments and communities plan for the decarbonisation of the power system to deliver low-cost, firmed renewable electricity with reliability and security.

    “Importantly, the ISP will help meet state and national climate targets, and contribute to economic growth through low-cost, reliable energy,” he said.

    ENDS


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  14. “The step change scenario forecasts annual electricity consumption from the grid will double by 2050, as transport, heating, cooking and industrial processes are electrified and 60% of current coal generation exiting by 2030,” Mr Westerman said.

    These people are insane.
    We can barely keep the lights on now, let alone with doubled demand.
    If the lose approximately 35% of our supply (60% of coal generation), we are truly screwed.
    Bloody Yes men.
    Someone needs to speak truth to power. Probably too late to avoid the worst, but at least we can minimise the down time.


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  15. AEMO CEO, Daniel Westerman, said: “Australia is experiencing a complex, rapid and irreversible energy transformation.”

    I don’t think so mate. When the blackouts start and the locals are up in arms it will be ‘off with your heads’ (‘Pollies’ included) until the Grid gets back to what it used to be. And that is, reliable energy and some of the cheapest electricity in the World. People power can be ‘electric’ don’t yer’ know? Put that in yer’ Plan and fink’ baat’ it………………………


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  16. AEMO CEO, Daniel Westerman, said: “Australia is experiencing a complex, rapid and irreversible energy transformation.”

    honestly, what the fuck?

    Why is it inevitable? Let’s roll over and get rogered, shall we?

    It would be easy as piss to say ‘no more bullshit’ and start building some coal and nuke plants ASAP.


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  17. Boambee: I’m not sure that the States’ reticence is material. There’s not much sign of substantial gas in Victoria once Bass Strait runs down (starts now) and the Narrabri project of Santos looks like it will be expensive and won’t deliver a lot. Beetaloo also is hardly encouraging, given they had the unique gift of taxpayer money for drilling and have done little for meagre results.
    Our best gas fields are in the north and west and there’s ample that can land at production costs down near $4 or less. This gas should have been the resource feeding Gladstone.
    So in summary our chances of getting back to where we were with gas are negligible without a big fight.


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  18. “Let’s roll over and get rogered, shall we?”

    Lay back and think of Australia. And the world. All those endangered animals and whatnot.
    The environment! We’ve gotta save it for future generations – not that they’ll be allowed to see it, mind. But they’ll feel good knowing that it’s there. And you’ll feel good knowing you “saved” it.
    That’s an experience you can’t buy, innit?
    I said “can’t buy”, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay for it.

    “…start building some coal and nuke plants ASAP.”
    See, now you’re not being part of the solution – which means you’re part of the problem.
    You’re the problem, not our Dear Leaders who, after all, know what’s best for you – why else did you vote for them, eh?


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  19. [Un]Trained

    Trained Observersays:
    June 30, 2022 at 1:09 pm
    Boambee: I’m not sure that the States’ reticence is material. There’s not much sign of substantial gas in Victoria once Bass Strait runs down (starts now) and the Narrabri project of Santos looks like it will be expensive and won’t deliver a lot. Beetaloo also is hardly encouraging, given they had the unique gift of taxpayer money for drilling and have done little for meagre results.

    Are you an Observer, or are you a geologist with practical knowledge of the process for exploring for gas? Or are you just talking through your arse, spouting a “narrative” that suits a political purpose?


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  20. So in summary our chances of getting back to where we were with gas are negligible without a big fight

    No it isn’t.

    Not when most States in Australia have still-workable coal plants that need only the overhauls and equipment renewals inevitable after several decades’ continuous operation. Which are being shuttered cos greenfeelz and government thumbs on economic and comoetitive scales.

    We can’t bring back those in SA amd Vic your fellow travellers dynamited, troll.

    But since the closures and foreclosures have been purely political, their reversal is just as simple.

    Now spack off.


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  21. Rex: have a look at what the owners of those plant are doing and saying. They’re mostly dated to the 1980s and early 90s. It’s going to be renewables firmed with gas.


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  22. Kneel, of course accounting is necessary, but these anoraks do it for free. You could not find more boring people at a trainspotters convention.


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  23. look at what the owners of those plant are doing and saying. They’re mostly dated to the 1980s and early 90s.

    You mean to say that they would rather pocket the renewables subsidies governments are providing them, rather than spend the necessary (and ultimately recoup-able) investment on boiler and turbine overhauls.

    Which is what they’d be doing if the government’s thumb wasn’t deliberately tipping the scales in favour of the unreliable wind and solar boondoggles they’ve sunk their money into on the promises of tenfold returns taken directly from the taxpayers…

    It’s going to be renewables firmed with gas

    And Austria is reopening coal power stations after the Russian gas it was relying on dried up.

    You idiots love anything you can’t see being cut down, burned, processed, smelted or mined. Moronic Eloi, sleepwalking us into the mouths of the Morlocks of economic and geopolitical reality…


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  24. Can you imagine being a politician that has some smarts that has gone along with the “renewables save the planet” push to keep the peace, but underneath has had doubts but has been so chicken little as to not even question the viability of the whole exercise – then the lights go out, the fridge stops and and your whole electorate is without power. No traffic lights, no trains, no damn nothing. And you sir or madam will be held responsible. Yes you!


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  25. m0ntysays:
    June 30, 2022 at 5:30 pm
    Kneel, of course accounting is necessary, but these anoraks do it for free. You could not find more boring people at a trainspotters convention.

    Don’t feel obliges to stay. Steve from Brissy and Homer are waiting for you to post again at Phat Pussy. They need a few laughs.


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  26. Trained Observer
    Sitting on the tax institutes legislative and cases committee on the early 2000 the topic of payroll tax came up. The payroll tax would not be reduced as the govt needed the money to maintain the Torrens island power plant.
    Apparently nothing had been updated since the plant was commissioned in the late 1960s.
    Why – the low electricity prices we were paying were going to the power plants wages. The highest paid people in the workforce .


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  27. Hey Monty
    Out of interest what do you do for a crusta

    Here is the Fat Man’s Twitter profile.

    Key achievement- He runs a Fantasy Football tipping site.

    And is developing a mobile game app.

    (We don’t talk about the lefty blogs he starts up and gets bored with, or flees from after getting ruthlessly and relentlessly vibe-checked for his lack of devotion. His profile suggests he is up to his third…)

    https://mobile.twitter.com/m0nty


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  28. memsays:
    June 30, 2022 at 6:24 pm
    Can you imagine being a politician that has some smarts that has gone along with the “renewables save the planet” push to keep the peace, but underneath has had doubts but has been so chicken little as to not even question the viability of the whole exercise – then the lights go out, the fridge stops and and your whole electorate is without power. No traffic lights, no trains, no damn nothing. And you sir or madam will be held responsible. Yes you!

    Just separate the head from the body of the ‘Pollie’. It won’t get the lights back on but you may feel better for having achieved a community service.


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  29. Rex Angersays:
    June 30, 2022 at 11:35 pm
    Hey Monty
    Out of interest what do you do for a crusta

    Here is the Fat Man’s Twitter profile.

    Ha, ha, ha. I clicked on the Twatter link that you posted and oh wot’ a Profile.

    Firstly seeing that photo, I would like to know the number of the Bus. Wot’ Bus you may well ask. The number of the Bus that ran over his boat race (face).

    I didn’t read to much but I did clock onto the word ‘nerd’. Just about sums it up although ‘Montypox virus’ gives nerds a bad name.


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  30. Re. energy problem/crises, when the crunch comes there will be nobody responsible.
    It was a good idea at the time, and we did as we were instructed by the government.

    Back to business as usual, there are a lot of other things to f..k up.


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  31. Rex: the companies operating our coal fleet aren’t big investors in renewables. In fact the big problem is that they’re not investing much at all. These plant are old and need replacement but the lack of resolution means there isn’t any. Those are the facts and they’re easy to check.
    As to Austria. This is Australia. It’s spelled differently and is not near Russia. We have buckets of gas. All we need do is make sure enough of it is supplied locally.


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  32. It’s spelled differently and is not near Russia. We have buckets of gas.

    way to go you semantic fool
    or, to make it more obvious … gas doesn’t come buckets

    and your illogical statement about investment is a red-herring at best


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  33. “We have buckets of gas. All we need do is make sure enough of it is supplied locally.”

    I see.
    Do you think you will be profitable, running a gas power station?

    You only have 20, maybe 30 years to get your cash back on current policies, maybe less if GovCo decides to go full spastic (as opposed to the 3/4 spastic they are already at).
    At least 5 years is gone before you can actually have it on-line and making money.
    Unless the rules change, you will NOT be offered a “fair go” at the market at any particular time, as they will take the renewables first. That means you won’t get to generate at the 80-90% you’d expect to be able to, only at 40-50%. But you will have to be on-line anyway because AEMO will want the firming and FACS you can supply, but renewables cannot/do not. Meaning your running costs (except fuel) will be the same, but you will only have half the amount of energy that you can sell.
    So that means you will have to get about 4 times as much for each MW/h you sell as you would if you could keep it going for 50 years and 80-90% capacity.
    Oh, and you’ll be required to purchase “renewable energy certificates” in order to operate too – in other words, you will need to buy a piece of paper directly from your competitors that says they made the same amount of energy you plan to.

    That is what is making coal “uneconomical” – if coal could bid and be selected on price, and didn’t need to pay a renewables generator, they would be around $40/MWh. The need for “renewable energy certificates” means that the renewables can bid below cost (sometimes even negative – they will pay you to take the power) because they have a “captive audience” for their “subsidiary product” of certificates.

    So if you are AGL, and own Liddell as well as “renewable” generation like wind and solar farms, why the hell would you keep Liddell open? From AGL’s point of view, it’s just a money pit where they have to throw cash to no benefit – if it’s not there, they can sell their certificates to someone else, for a start. Even better, closing it will force up the price they get for what the rest of their generation makes. Their costs go down AND the market price goes UP! Bit of a no-brainer that one, eh?


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  34. You know Kneel, if ideology could be converted into electrons, the Cat could be the most profitable energy co-operative in existence.

    We seem to attract an almost inexhaustible supply of leftwit trolls, immune to reality by the sheer power of their talking points.

    If only there was a way to catch them and strap them into exercise bikes attached to a generator, and guilt them into working past the point of physical exhaustion with pictures of gaunt polar bears and water vapour towers, we’d solve all the power generation problems these idiots have provoked… 🙂


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  35. the companies operating our coal fleet aren’t big investors in renewables.

    So if you are AGL, and own Liddell as well as “renewable” generation like wind and solar farms, why the hell would you keep Liddell open

    You are a very clumsy and stupid individual, Untrained Non-Observer…


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