Roundup 25 Nov

The New Energy Narrative

It’s Time for a new narrative, a new Energy Story. The game has changed, not officially and not among the True Believers but every month it will get clearer to anyone who bothers to check. We are in damage control. The exit from coal, gas and oil has just about run its course.

That is official among the developing nations of the world while in Australia, Europe and the US the old narrative will be propped up by assorted vested interests for some time to come. According to the official narrative wind and solar power are clean and cheap and the flight from coal is irreversible.

To the contrary, the unreliable energy from wind and solar factories is not clean. Look at the trail of environmental and human damage from the beginning to the end of the life of batteries, turbines and solar panels. It is not cheap, it is not sustainable and it is not renewable when you consider the non-renewable resources used to produce it.

The new narrative recognizes that fossil fuels have enabled people in the modern world to live lives of ease and comfort that were inconceivable for the masses in the past. In a generation, a billion people were lifted out of grinding poverty.

And we will recognise the indispensable role of the thousands of products of the petrochemical industry that we use practically every minute of the day from putting on our makeup and cleaning our teeth to undergoing medical treatments in hospital.


This morning at 6.40 the wind was blowing at CP 17% across the NEM and delivering 9% of demand. That CP is a bit more than half the average (29%.)

SA, the wind-leading state, was doing better than the rest with CP 50% and exporting 20% the power generated in the state. Still, 35% of the generation came from gas and without gas there was no spare power to export.

Victoria is the leader in total installed capacity and there the wind was blowing at CP 5% to deliver 5% of demand. 20% of demand was sourced from SA, Tasmania and Queensland via NSW. Don’t blow up your coal stations Dan!

People in the bush are revolting

Across the nation, dozens of communities in the path of major transmission lines and wind and solar developments are fighting back using every avenue they can find to save their surroundings. Watch this site for reports on developments in this contest.

The Menzies Research Institute is hosting a webinar forum on the protests from rural communities faced with the wreck and ruin inflicted by wind and solar factories and the transmission lines associated with them. Register here. The date is 15 December at 6.00 Sydney time.

The saved generations

Driving across the Sydney harbour bridge recently my Chinese friend asked who designed the Aboriginal flag that now flies alongside the Australian flag. Investigation revealed that it was designed in 1971 by Harold Thomas, a Luritja man from central Australia, who identified himself as a member of the stolen generations. He had recently graduated with honours from the South Australian School of Art.

We know that there were no stolen generations and this identity was applied to an elastic figure in the order of 10 to 30+% of young people who were taken into care. We know that many of these young people became very successful, think of some prominent agitators in the grievance industry.

Here is a thought, what about a collection of short biographies of “stolen people” to run in a series, released daily in the runup to the vote on the Voice?

 Will Cat readers contribute by providing names in the comments. Don’t be repetitive, the prominent ones will be identified by many people and they will soon be listed, so search further afield. They don’t need to be great and famous and many of them may be pleased to be listed, perhaps anonymously, to correct the mythology.

There was a young lady in the Commonwealth service who achieved some minutes of fame a few years ago by going public to say she was fed up with the way people like herself were getting preferential treatment on the basis of next to no Aboriginal ancestry and no social disadvantage in growing up.

A list from Wikipedia

Roundup of Partners and Fellow-Travellers

Drop in and see what they are up to!

IPA         Climate and energy program  CIS          The Sydney Institute

Menzies Research Centre  Mannkal Economics Education Foundation          

Advance Australia  Taxpayers Alliance  Australian Institute for Progress


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November 25, 2022 7:47 am

Great work Rafe.

Louis Litt
Louis Litt
November 25, 2022 8:06 am

Hi Rafe
Yesterdays advertiser had a comment from “Kevin” who had weather records going back to the 1930s.
His observation was we are cooling, with ocean levels recorded at fort Denison being 6cm lower than in 1930.
BTW done any one of “Teresa Thermapollis” who used to contribute to Don Aitkens website.

Old School Conservative
Old School Conservative
November 25, 2022 9:18 am

wind and solar factories

That’s the way to win the battle. Claim the language.

November 25, 2022 10:08 am

It could be titled “The Gratefully Removed Generation”.

November 25, 2022 10:11 am

Don Aitkin died this year. I actually suggested his last essay “On death and dying” in a comment on his blog.

November 25, 2022 10:30 am

…while in Australia, Europe and the US the old narrative will be propped up by assorted vested interests for some time to come.

Enough time for politicians & grifters to wreck what’s left of our once reliable system.

And replacing it won’t be cheap or a swift undertaking.

November 25, 2022 10:53 am

Another twist in Australia’s erratic march to renewable energy

Jennifer Hewett Columnist

That South Australian households and businesses will effectively pay AGL $20 million to keep some of an ageing gas plant open for an additional three years may not be quite the energy revolution its most influential minority shareholder, Mike Cannon-Brookes, has in mind.

But it’s just another of the twists and turns in Australia’s erratic march towards much greater use of renewable energy over this decade.

The commercial catch for AGL and other “fossil fuel” operators is that dramatic expansion of wind and solar power has often meant generation from gas or coal translates into generation of losses as wholesale prices regularly dive, particularly during daylight hours.

The recent extreme volatility in the market, along with wholesale power price spikes, hasn’t fundamentally changed that equation. Combined with reputational risk and accelerating consumer and investor demand to decarbonise, many power generators are accelerating the closure of former staples.

Despite the temporary extension of life of one of AGL’s Torrens Island B units, for example, the whole plant will now close by 2026. The Australian Energy Market Operator had initially planned on it staying open until 2035.

It’s an indication of how quickly the timeline and the economics of the grid are being upended.

Origin Energy has announced the 2025 closure of its coal-fired Eraring power station in NSW seven years ahead of schedule and AGL is closing its NSW Liddell coal-fired plant next year as part of the transition to renewables.

But sufficient supplies of renewable energy backed by alternative firming power – like batteries or pumped hydro – are not yet adequate or reliable enough to fill the gap. The result is the East Coast of Australia faces a tricky few years at least, with obvious potential risks to energy supply leading to complicated compromises to make do underneath the urgency of renewables commitments.

That’s compounded by the spike in prices – with far higher increases to come – leading to Australian businesses and households becoming increasingly agitated about their power bills. Political contortions are likewise increasing.

The Andrews government parades its climate change credentials, for example, citing its opposition to further gas development or new household gas connections. It also won’t agree to pay generators to keep back-up gas supply available on demand as part of a “capacity mechanism” stabilising the national electricity market. Yet the same government has negotiated a still secret commercial deal with EnergyAustralia to ensure it keeps its high carbon emitting, brown coal-fired Yallourn power station open until 2028.

Ahead of Saturday’s election, Premier Daniel Andrews is instead heavily promoting his plan to create a 51 per cent state-owned State Electricity Commission to end “gouging” by greedy private sector energy companies and ensure lower prices for renewable energy for Victorian consumers.

Further details of just how this can work in practice will only come post-election, of course.

Federal Labor – along with the NSW Liberal government – was also opposed to the Coalition building a new Kurri-Kurri gas-fired power station in NSW, arguing renewable energy was cheaper and better. That was until Labor decided this endangered its own election calculations in the NSW Hunter Valley.

It instead backed the Kurri-Kurri construction on the vague condition it should use as much green hydrogen as possible. (Not that this yet exists in any commercial form.)

The other dynamic is that much of Australia’s ageing energy infrastructure requires expensive rehabilitation or replacement sooner rather than later anyway.

So AGL’s near 50-year-old Torrens B plant in South Australia is not technologically advanced enough to quickly adjust to shifting demand and prices by reducing or ramping up supply. But it has still been a useful back-up for the regulator to call on as needed in order to keep the system stable and reliable in times of peak demand or extreme weather.

The construction of a major interconnector transmission line between NSW and South Australia, scheduled to start operating in 2026, will make Torrens B even less financially viable. So AGL had planned to continue shutting down another of its three remaining units next year, having already mothballed the first last year.

Instead, protracted negotiations with the state Labor government and AEMO mean AGL will be subsidised by SA electricity consumers to spend another $20 million on maintenance to keep all three units going until 2026.

AGL will also continue with its plans to build a big battery and investigate potential use of green hydrogen, after having opened a more flexible gas plant four years ago, in the attempt to turn the site into a low carbon industrial energy hub.

According to AGL’s chief operating officer Marcus Brokhof, the company believes in gas as a transition fuel but cannot afford to keep losing money on its Torrens Island B facility.

The new timetable for closure as well as the deal with AEMO and the South Australian government, he says, have nothing to do with Cannon-Brookes’ recent pressure on the company’s board. This has included the election of four directors nominated by Cannon-Brookes’ private company at AGL’s annual general meeting, despite the objections of the AGL board to three of them.

South Australia led Australia in the use of renewable energy but the prospect of supply interruptions, usually triggered by severe weather, has been a sensitive issue ever since the statewide blackout of 2016.

According to SA Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis, the interconnector with NSW means the state will lose some of its sovereign capacity to produce its own power. But it will also make it less dependent on the existing interconnector with Victoria if things go wrong within the SA network.

The AGL announcement is just one of the many moving parts in a creaking energy system. Turbulence to continue.

November 25, 2022 10:59 am

Cleaving Beginning? – Climate Change Policy Makes Europe Too Expensive for Low-Cost EV Manufacturing

November 24, 2022 – sundance

We have been closely monitoring the signs of a global cleaving around the energy sector taking place.

Essentially, western governments’ following the “Build Back Better” climate change agenda which stops using coal, oil and gas to power their economic engine, while the rest of the growing economic world continues using the more efficient and traditional forms of energy to power their economies.

Within the BBB western group (identified on map in yellow), the logical consequences are increased living costs for those who live in the BBB zone, and increased prices for goods manufactured in the BBB zone. In the zone where traditional low-cost energy resources continue to be developed (grey on map), we would expect to see a lower cost of living and lower costs to create goods. Two divergent economic zones based on two different energy systems.

This potential outcome just seemed to track with the logical conclusion. The yellow zone also represented by the World Economic Forum, and the gray zone also represented by an expanding BRICS alliance. Against this predictable backdrop we have been watching various events unfold, some obvious and some less so.

Today, we get an obvious example:

NEW DELHI, Nov 24 (Reuters) – Fiat parent Stellantis (STLA.MI) has concluded it can’t currently make affordable electric vehicles (EVs) in Europe and is looking at lower-cost manufacturing in markets such as India, its chief executive told reporters.

If India, with its low-cost supplier base, is able to meet the company’s quality and cost targets by the end of 2023, it could open the door to exporting EVs to other markets, said Carlos Tavares, CEO of the group whose brands also include Peugeot and Chrysler.

“So far, Europe is unable to make affordable EVs. So the big opportunity for India would be to be able to sell EV compact cars at an affordable price, protecting profitability,” Tavares told reporters at a media roundtable in India late on Wednesday.

Stellantis is investing heavily in EVs and plans to produce dozens in the coming decade, but Tavares warned last month that affordable battery EVs were between five and six years away.

On his first visit to India since taking over as Stellantis CEO, he said the company was still working out a plan regarding EV exports from the country and had not yet taken any decisions. (read more)

November 25, 2022 11:57 am

Evonne was neither stolen nor placed into care. She was a talented player who was encouraged to use the local Barellan courts by one of the locals. Vic Edwards was talent scouting and spotted her, and her parents allowed her to come to Sydney to both go to school and train.

She went to Willoughby Girls High while living with the Edwards family. She was there when I started First Form.

There was no question ever of her being removed or “surrendered”. She did what a lot of country kids did (think Glenn McGrath) and went to the city to improve her sport. The dark side of the story was the control by Edwards of her finances, and the sexual advances her made towards her, poor woman.

November 25, 2022 12:40 pm

Wikipedia has a list of people in their Stolen Generation article.

Louis Litt
Louis Litt
November 25, 2022 1:08 pm

Thanks for blog about Don. Mixed emotion – really loved his logic and coolness and his ability to stand his ground. Sad that he was going down hill and could not do what he loved – write.
He was a great man with a balanced mind – I allways thought this was because under neath he was a mathematician and not a political “annalyist” .
Hopefully re untied with his second wife – his wirting on their relationship after she died was memeorable.
Thansk Danon

Louis Litt
Louis Litt
November 25, 2022 1:11 pm

Stoeln Generation – I recall Cathy Freeman in a clip saying “get out – there is a great world/life out there”.
It appears from the list the females have done well.

November 25, 2022 3:20 pm

AGL – gaslighting wind and solar.

November 25, 2022 5:25 pm

All good, Rafe.

I just happened to know her story. When I was a kid growing up on the North Shore there were a couple of Aboriginal girls at our local youth fellowship – they were living in some sort of foster care and were training for apprenticeships. It wasn’t a rare thing. What their exact story was I never found out.

Now that I’m older and hopefully wiser, I do wonder. Were they brought in from the bush as pseudo domestics? The 60’s and very early 70’s were a time when everyone kept very, very quiet about such things.

Boambee John
Boambee John
November 25, 2022 6:32 pm


Here is a thought, what about a collection of short biographies of “stolen people” to run in a series, released daily in the runup to the vote on the Voice?

Alec Ross (IIRC, now deceased) was a guide at the Alice Springs Telegraph Station, when we went on one of his tours around 2003.

He was quite explicit that he regarded himself as having been “rescued”, and noted that all of his (non-“rescued”) siblings were dead. There is a short booklet on him called Alec, A living history of the Alice Springs Telegraph Station by Shirley Brown, published in 2002. There might still be copies available at the Station.

November 25, 2022 7:36 pm

How long can the ‘heads I win, tails you lose’ narrative about energy continue?

First, the regulators make reliable fossil fuel plants back off whenever the wind blows or the sun shines.

Then, they announce their intention to close them all down.

Then they wonder why their owners are not spending money to maintain them.

Finally, they have to throw them millions of dollars of our money to keep them going because they know that blackouts are political suicide.

It’s like a snake eating its own tail, the snake being taxpayers and consumers.

November 25, 2022 10:47 pm

Johanna @7:36

That’s it in a nutshell.
End result…the consumers , (the public) lose.
This is the result of arrogance, ignorance and incompetence…and they are in charge!

November 26, 2022 4:01 pm

Re Boambee John’s anecdote above about the Alice Springs Telegraph Station guide perhaps we should in fact be referring to not the “Stolen” generation, but the “Rescued” generation more widely and generally? At the minimum that might explode some Lefties heads.

Bob Sewell
November 28, 2022 8:02 am

Three cheers for Rafe – our oldest contributor!

as a postgrad student in Adelaide in 1668


November 28, 2022 1:11 pm

Rafe, when you say “we know there were no stolen generations” do you mean to say that children were not removed from families?

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