The Packham Williams Medal

The press cover of energy issues is deplorable and consequently it is practically impossible to have an informed public debate. This is no small thing. A functioning democracy must have some fairly high proportion of voters who are well informed about the most important.

On energy maters, sins of commission abound when unhelpful information is circulated. And there are sins of omission when politicians and other RE enthusiasts don’t have to respond to searching questions from well-informed journalists and commentators.

To illuminate the situation and have a bit of fun,  a prestigious award, analogous to the Brownlow and Rothmans medals, has been created to celebrate leading players in the misinformation game.

Journalists and commentators will compete for Packham Williams points based on their most recent performance. The award will immortalize the contributions of Colin Packham and Perry Williams who both work at The Australian where the management or at least the editorial policy apparently favours warming alarmism and salvation by wind and solar power.

Perry did as much as anyone to set the standard. We don’t see so much of him since he was promoted and fortunately Colin Packham has picked up the baton to carry forward the editorial policy.

For example on July the 25th he wrote that the rollout of batteries across the NEM would be a major boost to Australia’s energy transition because storage was not being built fast enough. That is a vain hope because the capacity of so-called big batteries is pathetically small compared with the power required to get through a windless night.

And on October 9 he wrote that much of Australia’s renewable energy storage woes could be eradicated if the eagerly anticipated Snowy2.0 scheme is completed on schedule. LOL! The scheme never made sense, even before the original timetable went out the window. See the modelling that was done for The Energy Realists.

The launch of Chris Bowen’s grand plan to get the transition back on track has produced an outburst of excitement amongst many commentators, apparently eager to rack up Packham Williams points.

Laura Tingle at the AFR does not write much about energy but she produced a display that earned her three points last week.  On November 25 she opined:

The important thing to know is that the proposed underwriting tender for new energy does offer the prospect of overcoming a market failure…

The underwriting gives investors the confidence to know they will be covered if prices crash because of extra supply coming on line…

Plenty of problems remain, of course, in the design of our energy market. But the proposal seems to be the most significant breakthrough – at least in expediting clean energy capacity.

LOL again. As if a market broken by subsidies and mandates can be fixed by subsidising more intermittent energy capacity. Install as much more capacity as you like but on nights with little or no wind you still get little or no energy.

Teach children the ABC of power supply so they can tell their parents about it!

A: Input to the grid must continuously match the demand.

B: The continuity of wind and solar input is broken when there is little or no wind overnight.

C: At present there is no feasible or affordable large-scale storage to bridge the gaps.

Consequently it is suicidal to depend on wind and solar power unless the peak demand can be met by conventional power that is kept on line, or power can be sourced from some other grid.

So Laura Tingle takes out three points in the first week of the Packham Williams medal competition.

Jennifer Campbell, op ed editor at The Australian, gets a retrospective point for spiking this informative and incisive contribution.


Laura Tingle 3

Jennifer Campbell 1

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December 5, 2023 6:17 am

Batteries sitting within the power grid don’t have the same function as a power pack sitting on your garage wall, which are designed to store and supply power on small scale. The primary purpose of a “big battery” on the grid however is to stabilise the power supply by smoothing out the supply from renewable inputs. It does this absorbing and infilling power fluctuations and harmonising the disparate inputs. (Harmonisation of the grid is no trivial matter, lose the GPS timing signals and see what happens to large, national grids. Anyhow, providing power at grid level to actually power homes and industry during a renewables power drought just isn’t going to work. It’s like expecting a B-Double to deliver parcels door to door, it probably could but, damn, it’s an ugly solution. At least, that’s as I understood it when I last looked seriously at the issue, happy to be corrected if technology has overcome the problem (but like all things renewable, it’s probably magical thinking to think a battery will power tens of thousands of homes for hours, let alone a national grid! but because it’s renewable nobody calls it out).

December 5, 2023 6:22 am

And the Libs do nothing to educate the public whenever they are in power. Pathetic. Let’s not forget that they have had multiple opportunities to do this over the last twenty years at both state and federal levels.

Bungonia Bee
Bungonia Bee
December 5, 2023 6:52 am

Privatisation of the power system was sold on the basis that it would be more efficiently run, and that funds would be directed to other infrastructure projects.
The result has been disastrous because of the warping of the ground rules by so-called climate change policies, which are ill-conceived and doomed to be incredibly expensive, economically damaging, and have no effect on climate.
There is no more important infrastructure than the power system. They have warped and wrecked it.
We will continue to have a malfunctioning democracy as long as we have dishonest media.

December 5, 2023 7:45 am

Minor “correction”:

“The press cover of ALL issues is deplorable and consequently it is practically impossible to have an informed public debate.” (So do not bother following them, except to learn whet NOT to believe).

They are the mangy tail wagging the rabid dog of politics and PROUD of it.

Louis Litt
December 5, 2023 7:49 am

Privatisation of ETSA – from what I understand the billing dept has been split up to different companies. My electricity still comes from Torrens Island. I do not understand how I would get electricity from Lochiel Snowtown wind farms if I wanted it.
The power lines are still the same.
It’s all semantics with no real development.

The Bungonia Bee
The Bungonia Bee
December 5, 2023 8:33 am

While Chris Bowen extols the virtues of wind, solar and EVs, US car dealers – see Jo Nova – have realised EVs are a complete loser and have asked Biden regime to ease off on plans to go all EV. They won’t, of course. Obama’s third term is all about those behind the curtain pulling Joe’s strings and continuing to disintegrate the USA.

Colonel Crispin Berka
Colonel Crispin Berka
December 5, 2023 9:19 am

On energy maters,

They would be John Howard, Bob Brown, Penny Wong, AEMO, Clean Energy Council, and five State governments. They all absolutely mated-up our energy system.

December 5, 2023 9:56 am

A sad event occurred at my Golf Club last week. The Pro Shop erupted in flames on Thursday night, destroying the structure, all stock, and all the golf clubs and carts stored there. The loss looks like exceeding $2.5 million.

The likely cause is a lithium battery used to power a golf buggy which was being recharged overnight.

The members were advised early last month that there clubs would no longer be covered by the insurance policy which came with there membership fees. This was a bit unfortunate but few thought any more about it – that is until Thursday night.

None of the members’ clubs stored in the Shop were covered.

I googled “golf club fires” and found 2 other significant fires in the last 15 months. The Pro Shop at the Lakes in Sydney went up last year and the Eastern Golf Club on the Yarra Valley was completely destroyed on late October 2023. Those fires were started by lithium batteries.

It would appear that golf clubs are now uninsurable at least until some solution is found to rendering such batteries safe.

This of course has wider ramifications. In the last 12 months or so 2 very large motor vehicle transport ships carrying EVs have caught fire resulting in one sinking and the other suffering extensive damage. Insurance for EV exports will now be problematic. It they don’t become uninsurable the premiums will be prohibitive.

It will be interesting to see what happens in this area in the near future. The law of unintended consequences appears to be kicking in.

Rufus T Firefly
Rufus T Firefly
December 5, 2023 11:38 am

I love the way, in the climate “debate”, there is not only, no accountability for any of the retards, (from both sides), who wear the laurel of Climate Czar, but the lapdog press has NEVER even questioned any of this garbage.

Trillions of dollars, worldwide, has been spent chasing unicorns, to appease Gaia.
Never, have the presstitutes asked the obvious question,
“Ok, ….., what science, forms the bedrock, of your wet dreams of Net Zero?”

There is no “scientific” study, anywhere, that concludes “mankind has ANY effect whatever, on climate on earth”.

Yet, the spending continues apace, without question, almost like a ……., religious diktat.
The only results, that show mankind is affecting climate, come from Models.
Now clearly, having the ability to change variables to achieve the “required” outcome is very important to the CAGW crowd, but it is not science.
Models are slightly less scientific than human sacrifice.

Science, is putting forward a theory and then:
a. Testing the theory against the observable data. From there, if it is supported,
b. all of the data is given to an independent team who replicate the experiment.
If they also get the same results, the theory is proven. If not, it is falsified.

That is science. Anything else, is, ……., not science. It is dogma.

December 5, 2023 11:43 am

… it is practically impossible to have an informed public debate.

Our opponents neither want, nor are equipped for, genuine debate. Hence why their contribution is largely emotive. This emotion, as much as we dismiss it as unworthy of our rhetorical skills, has been highly effective, and demonstrably cannot be effectively countered by rationality and logic. If arguing with facts was a winning tactic, we’d not be in, what … the fourth decade of doom-planet iterations?

That’s not to say there is no place for ‘raising awareness’ and presenting facts as Rafe and colleagues (and others) do,* but that such an approach cannot be THE ONLY tactic utilised, because by itself, it is simply ineffective.

* I’ve stated previously that I admire Rafe et al’s dedication and commitment, so this should not be read as a personal criticism.

The Bungonia Bee
The Bungonia Bee
December 5, 2023 6:48 pm

Rafe raises our awareness, as do others, but the lumpenproletariat isn’t searching beyond shows like Sunrise for their info.
There’s some hope in the reports that the ALP attacks on Dutton, which resemble those on Abbott back in the day, are doing pretty much what attacks on Trump do – Increase His Popularity!

  1. “Dozens of world leaders converged on Lucerne resort Saturday to discuss how to bring peace to war-ravaged Ukraine“ Diplomacy is…

Oh, you think that, do you? Care to put it on record?x