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

SA the wind-leader!

This morning on Wednesday Nov 23 South Australia is in a wind drought. The wind-leading state is demonstrating the great green future of Australia as we pretend to transition from coal.

Before sunrise SA was importing power from Victoria and drawing almost 30% of its demand from the wind, with 70% from gas, with a bit of input from diesel generators. The wind CP was 22% of installed capacity and falling.

At 8 (Sydney time) SA was still importing power and the wind was down to 7% of installed capacity, providing less than 10% of demand. The sun was starting to make a contribution but gas was still delivering almost 70% of demand.

This is the live display that shows the flows between the states. Check the Fuel Mix tab to see the contribution of different sources, not including rooftop solar because these souces are not registered generators and they are not measured accurately by AEMO.

Below is a screen shot taken about 8am. The vertical axis shows the Capacity Factor. The upper line is the picture for the NEM in total and the lower line is SA. The coloured lines are individual wind facilities. this is the live display. Check the boxes to get the various state figures.

Save our rural surroundings

And our farmland and forests.

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

These short films show you what is going on in north Queensland.

Upper Burdican, Caban, Chalumbin

We can applaud the efforts of the greenies in these instances while at some stage we might remind them about the way they fought tooth and nail to eliminate the sustainable timber industry and the jobs in the mills.

The Complete Footprint of Expensive, Unreliable and Unsustainable Energy from Wind and Solar Factories

See Bill Stinson’s survey of environmental impact from mining to the end of the road with disposal of the junk and the toxic waste.

The first chapter of Triggerwarming is a catalogue of the human, environmental, economic and social disasters caused by misguided climate-control policies, chiefly the dash for unreliable energy. And the second chapter points out that the green dream of the Energiwende in Germany was a dead duck by 2018 according to the official review of progress. Buy here before it is too late! The link has been updated to cater for Australian buyers.

The information starter pack for energy issues has been revised to include more short films


Recently AEMO added a “Renewable Penetration” tab to the Data Dashboard to show the increasing contamination of power in the grid by unreliable energy. Currently this stands at 68.7% on Friday October 20 at 12.30.

That is supposed to show the giant strides that have been achieved to get rid of cheap and reliable power from “dirty” coal which is claimed to generate “carbon pollution”. The problem is, apart from the “dirtyness” of wind and solar power, we have gone as far as we can to reduce the supply of coal power because the critical consideration is not the maximum generation from wind and solar, rather it is the minimum on windless or low-wind nights.

Let’s Lift Wind Literacy

Reading literacy appears to be in decline and that is causing concern but spare a thought for the prevalence of “wind illiteracy.” This means lack of awareness of the wind supply, especially at the continental scale.

Wind illiteracy has enabled the biggest peacetime policy blunder in our history, that is, connecting intermittent energy sources from sun and wind to the grid. That mistake has been compounded by subsidising these providers and mandating the use of the product.

The result is a mortal threat to the electricity supply which is the lifeblood of modern society since the horse and buggy days. At the very least the price of power will rise sharply, crippling energy-intensive industries, wrecking household budgets and feeding inflation in every sector of the economy where electricity is an input.

The root of the problem is the combination of extensive and protracted wind droughts, the need for continuous input to the grid to match demand, and the lack of grid-scale storage to fill the gap in supply on windless nights.

Did anyone involved in planning the transition to intermittent wind and solar power think about the wind supply in the way that irrigation planners presumably pay attention to the water supply?

Did anyone call the Bureau of Meteorology or seek advice from some wind literate person who might have warned them about the widespread wind-lulls that occur when high pressure systems hover for a day or three, as they do, several times a year.

These are not the result of recent climate change. In the history of the Lameroo district in the Mallee of western Victoria:

A drought of a very different kind occurred in March and April of 1934. Because Lameroo sits above our underground water supply, windmills (wind pumps) were used to draw water to the surface for stock water and personal use. The period from mid- March to the end of April was almost completely windless; therefore no water. Farmers were soon desperate for stock water. Source

Paul Miskelly accessed the AEMO records of the power delivered from wind farms attached to the grid. During the calendar year 2010 the total wind output across the entire grid fell rapidly to zero or near zero on 109 occasions in the year.  Source

He showed that these droughts occurred when high pressure systems fell over the area, these are visible in the weather maps that show the high and low pressure systems that move from west to east across the continent.

He flagged the need for a fleet of fast-acting gas plants with enough capacity to match the installed wind capacity, on standby mode “to balance the wind’s mercurial behaviour.” 

In 2010 there were only 23 wind farms with less than 2GW of installed capacity and it was anticipated that the supply would become more reliable as the number of sites increased. John Morgan reported that the situation was much the same in the 12-month period from Sep 2014 to Sept 2015 when the capacity of the wind fleet was approaching 4GW. Source

The problem persists with almost 9GW of installed wind capacity at present. Mike O’Ceirin, an independent analyst working with the Energy Realists of Australia, has an interactive site using the AEMO records. Source

 The records can be interrogated to the depth and duration of all the wind droughts from 2010 to the latest serious episode which lasted over 40 hours  through the 7th, 8th and 9th of August.

People need to become wind savvy and alert to the Achilles heel of the intermittent energy system, that is the nights when the wind is low and there is next to no RE input. During these periods no amount of additional installed capacity will help because there is next to no grid-scale storage to save the excess power generated on sunny afternoons.

RE promoters celebrate record high inputs like the wind just before the drought in August and the solar input for an hour in SA on the afternoon of Oct 16.

AEMO recently started to promote a massive fraud on the data dashboard with a record of Renewable Penetration. See the tab at the top of this page.

Admittedly it is labelled “highlights” but that will mislead the unwary who don’t realise that the highs are useless as long as the lows persist. It is directly comparable to the fence around the cow paddock where the gate is always open or there are permanent gaps. Doh! The cows will get out regardless of the height of the fence.

The transition from coal is limited by the lowest level of RE input on windless nights and until that rises to meet the full demand we had better keep all the coal and gas capacity that we have at present or be prepared to eat breakfast and dinner cold, and in the dark in winter.

In the early afternoon we have sunk into a wind drought with the Capacity Factor (% of plated capacity that is being delivered) near 6% and the wind is contributing almost 4% of the demand. The level of demand is as low as it ever gets in the daytime, being a mild Sunday afternoon, and with plenty of sun about the penetration of RE at present is 60%.

Putting energy realism on the google map

The Energy Realists of Australia have two sites, the original list of papers hanging off the RiteOn site and our own site, Flickerpower.

It will help if these sites come up on the first page of searches and this is more likely to happen when they get more traffic directed from other sites, like this blog.

Cats are invited to head to these sites and sample the rich store of energy knowledge and wisdom, while making the sites more visible for searchers.

Casualties on the road to net zero


The Energy Crisis is upon us: Energy Disaster is coming.

A guest post by Bill Stinson, one of my colleagues in The Energy Realists of Australia and author of an important survey of damage inflicted on the planet through the life-cycle of wind and solar projects. The Dark Side of Renewable Energy.

“As ye sow, so shall ye reap” – Galatians 6:7.

Australia is without leadership. Australian politicians live in a fantasy world, believing that Australia is somehow immune from the energy crisis currently affecting Europe and the United Kingdom. For at least the past twenty years, Europe and the United Kingdom have, lemming-like, invested hundreds of billions of Euros building wind farms and PV solar farms, which depend upon the vagaries of the weather to generate electricity. This reliance has left them so vulnerable, that they are now rushing to bring mothballed coal-fired power stations and nuclear reactors back online, in an attempt, to save their citizens from what is predicted to be a harsh winter.

Australian politicians continue to legislate and enter into United Nations agreements, which will deliver the same disastrous energy outcome for Australian citizens and businesses, that has now befallen Europe and the United Kingdom.

The problem

If you were told that by paying subsidies on your energy bill you would be subsidising an increase in the cost of your energy, would you continue to accept that this was a sensible thing to do. This is what Australian citizens and Australian businesses are doing right now.

Every energy bill collects environmental subsidies which support the development of wind farms and PV solar farms which hastens the closing down of reliable, affordable and dispatchable energy from coal fired power stations. When these coal fired power stations are taken out of service, unlike the European and United Kingdom governments who mothball them, Australian governments condone the destruction of our coal-fired power stations, so they can’t be repurposed, using small modular reactors for energy production.

Australian governments continue to pursue policies supporting the rollout of environmentally destructive, technologically inefficient and toxic wind farms, PV solar farms and batteries. Images of coal-fired power stations being blown up is a metaphor for the disastrous energy policies of governments of all political persuasions, both State and Federal.

We are fundamentally changing our energy generation capability from reliable coal-fired generation (which can easily be upgraded to nuclear
generation) to environmentally destructive, technologically inefficient, toxic, unreliable PV solar and wind generation from a tenuous forced labour supply chain.

The solution

Continue reading “The Energy Crisis is upon us: Energy Disaster is coming.”

THE VOICE of energy realism

Mark Mills explains why the green energy transition is not happening. 5 min

On the limits of wind and solar power. 5 min

Nigel Ballantyne

On the beauty  of nuclear power. 4 min

What sea-level rises? 2 min

Welcome to COP 27 1 min

RC The tragic tale of peaks and troughs in windpower 8 min

RC The German trifecta of failure 6 min

Black is White, Freedom is Slavery, 2+2=5

Newspeak rules in reportage of climate and energy issues in the mainstream media.        

In 1984 George Orwell introduced the concept of a new way of speaking to consolidate the grip of totalitarian regimes by thought control as well as brute force and intimidation. He spelled out the design and purpose of ‘newspeak’ in an appendix to the novel which incidentally revealed that the date for the consolidation of the New Order was not 1984 (the inversion of the publication date in 1948).

It was expected that Newspeak would have finally superseded Oldspeak (or Standard English, as we should call it) by about the year 2050.

So the transition, the Great Reset if you like, is still running on time and we were not home free when we got through 1984.

The idea was to cripple and cramp the thought processes of people in some simple ways for example limiting the vocabulary so dangerous words such as honour, justice, morality, internationalism, democracy, science, and religion simply ceased to exist. More sophisticated methods involved the structure of sentences and the mode of expression to limit communication to basic processes with minimal scope for imaginative or critical thought about abstract concepts.

Turning to the language of climate and energy policy in the press.

Decarbonization. This is a primary goal, it is Very Good, or even “doubleplusgood”. Getting rid of carbon is a very strange objective, given that all living things including human beings are based on complex molecules built around chains of carbon atoms. What is so desirable about getting rid of the atom that is the basis of life on earth? What is the chain of thought that ends up with the concept of decarbonization as a target for energy policy.

Carbon pollution. What is this carbon pollution that we read about? Not the deposit of soot that used to be a hazard of living next to railway lines in the age of steam. No, it is the trace gas that is essential for plant life (and life on earth) that is present in short supply, far short of the amount required for optimum plant growth, in fact it was dangerously low during the Little Ice Age.

Clean energy. This is energy that does not produce CO2 and various other undesirables. Some of these are genuinely undesirable and they are scrubbed out of modern machinery. So wind and solar power are “clean” because they do not generate plant food. However when you examine the trail of  human and environmental disaster from mining and transport, through manufacturing, construction and installation to decommissioning and disposal of the toxic wastes you find that they are very far from clean and green. The myth of “clean RE” is one of the biggest lies of our time. Just check out the story told by Bill Stinson in the paper attached to this briefing note.

There are more examples to talk about another day, like Sustainability (using wind and solar power) and RERT the Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader scheme that is used to keep rolling blackouts out of sight by taking power from big-using Peters so that the mass of Pauls will not realise when we are verging on serious blackouts,

Orwell on Newspeak.

Rafe’s Roundup 25 Sept

Calling Energy and Emergency Services Ministers

Here is a thought, what is the plan to respond to the collapse of the electricity grid? Is there adequate backup with generators to keep hospitals and other emergency services running? Complete with fuel. And what else? What about the water and gas supplies. And everything else like lifts, traffic lights, cash registers, petrol browsers and ATMs.

What are the messages that all jurisdictions should take away from the South Australian blackout in 2016? Of course everyone assumes that it will never happen again and heroic load sheding should ensure that is the case but lets at least contemplate the worst case scenario as a matter of due diligence. There is an Australian Emergency Management Arrangements Handbook with a lot of words in it, as you would expect, but are the plans in preparation?

The dark side of intermittent energy

A wordy and scary piece on the toxic impact of the Unreliable Energy industry, especially in exotic places. Skip through to pick out the eyes on the impact of wind and solar developments and especially the role of big corporations in the US power industry and the extraction of rare earths in Asia.

Lithium-ion battery mining and production are determined to be worse for the climate than the production of fossil fuel vehicle batteries in an article from The Wall Street JournalAccording to scientists measuring cumulative energy demand (CED)production of the average lithium-ion battery uses three times more electrical energy compared to a generic battery. 

Recent wind droughts

On the morning of Thursday 22 just before sunrise  South Australia (the wind leading state) was importing two thirds of its demand and the local generation was 80% gas!

In the evening at dinnertime WA was down to 1% of power from the wind. In the East the wind was doing better, delivering 3% of the demand at a capacity factor of 7 (severe drought.) Victoria is the big wind state with more capacity than SA, though not per capita, and their windmills contributed 1% of demand at capacity 1.4%. Their capacity factor was below 5% for the previous 24 hours!

Approaching 10pm nothing has changed, the wind across the SE is delivering 4% because the total demand has gone down, still the capacity factor in SA is 1.2 and in Victoria 2.8! 

On Friday morning at sunrise the wind across the NEM was delivering 2.6% of demand at CP 5.5% (of installed or nameplate capacity.) South Australia is importing half its demand with gas providing almost 90% of local generation, wind CP 3.5%. In Victoria the wind is delivering 2%, CP 2.3%, Queensland 1% CP 6% and Tasmania 4% CP 7%.

The NEM has been technically in drought (CP less than 10%) since 10 am Thursday, in SA since 1 am on Thursday, and in Tasmania and Victoria the drought started at noon on Wednesday.

On Saturday the NEM recovered although the capacity farcor stayed under 20% all day (two thirds of the average) while SA and Victoria were under 5% for much of the day.

On Sunday the NEM trended down to reach drought level (10) at noon. Shortly after sunrise SA wa importing 45% of demand wth 40% of local generation from gas. The picture shows the rather limited amount of green (wind) even though only SA was technically in drought. Imagine the extra windmills required to provide hot breakfasts and coffee!

Roundup of partners and fellow-travellers

Drop in to the sites and see what they are up to!

CPAC Speakers for this yearRegister Volunteer to help

IPA         Climate and energy program CIS          The Sydney Institute

Menzies Research Centre Mannkal Economics Education Foundation          

Advance Australia Taxpayers Alliance Australian Institute for Progress

Not enough “oats” in the European power supply?

Everyone knows the sad story about the farmer who decided to save some money by reducing the ration of oats for his horse. He started with a reduction of 10% and it didn’t seem to matter so he cut another 10% and then another. He was saving money hand over fist but then the animal unfortunately died.

Over the last decade or three the nations of the western world started to reduce the amount of fossil fuel “oats” in their power “rations.” In Australia the process started in 2012 with the closure of Munmorah in NSW (600MW), Swanbank, Q, 500 and Collinsville Q 180. Major closures since then were Wallerawang (1000) in NSW, Northern (546) and Playford (240) in SA and finally in 2017, the biggest of all, Hazelwood in Victoria(1760.)

That took 7600 MW out of the total of 30,500, a 25% reduction. This year the phased closure of Liddell in NSW started with one of the four 500MW turbines going out of service, with the process to be complete in April 2023. In recent months a combination of planned (maintenance) outages and unplanned outages combined with issues in the supply of gas caused major price increases and alarm about the stability of the system.

The horse died when the ration of oats slipped below a sustainable level. How many more oats (coal power capacity) need to be taken out of the system to kill it? Practically everyone who has an opinion insists that the closure of coal stations has to be accelerated, or at least the expansion of wind and solar power, storage capacity and major interconnections has to be ramped up with all possible dispatch. That cannot work, as described below.

Now in Europe we can see what happens when you go too far, apparently it happens very quickly when you get to the tipping point.

Trigger warning, this material is likely to be distressing if you manage to conjure up a feeling for the desperation and desolation in a Britain where 60% of their manufacturing could be about to collapse, while household bills for many people are likely to exceed their disposable income.

Meantime, the same forces are de-industrializing Europe right before our eyes. Industry after industry is throttling back, shutting down, or considering doing so if the energy chaos continues. Britain is staring at the potential shutdown of 60 percent of its manufacturers. Germany and most of Europe are on the same track.

Never say it couldn’t happen here!

See also Jo Nova’s account of the situation in Europe.

There are companies that started business in the 1800s and survived two world wars but may not last the coming winter. It’s all changing so fast, they lament. With energy costs rising three to sixfold, the highest energy industries are folding. The first casualties were fertilizer, aluminium and zinc, and now in the second wave, the glass makers and tilers are coming undone, and with them, whole towns that support them will unravel too:

‘Crippling’ Energy Bills Force Europe’s Factories to Go Dark

How many power-intensive Australian firms will survive the impending increase in power prices?

Postscript. Why we can’t build RE capacity to get out of the hole.

As the saying goes, when you are in a hole, first of all stop digging. We are in a serious hole with the power supply but the standard response is to keep digging by accelerating the building of wind and solar, storage, interconnectors, hydrogen.

That will not work due to the combined effect of the following factors.

  1. Wind droughts. These are well-known in some circles but not among the people in AEMO and other advisory bodies who planned the destruction of the conventional power supply.
  2. Need for continuous supply – no gaps. Hence the term “choke point” that I used to convey the sense of “rapid death” when the wind power supply is too low to keep the lights on.
  3. No storage
  4. No capacity to exchange power with neighbours.

The reason why more windmills and solar panels will not help at the “choke point” is that when you have no RE on a windless night, no amount of additional capacity will help. The horses will get out of the paddock through gaps in the fence, regardless of how high you build it. Building the high parts even higher will not keep the horses in. We can increase the penetration of RE in the system by building more capacity but the gaps persist (so why bother?)

As for storage and the calls for “Storage Targets”, we don’t have any effective storage at grid scale at present and there is no prospect of any in sight, despite the number of “big battery” projects in the pipeline. Add them up in terms of MWhrs (instead of MW) and see how much you get compared with the demand on a windless night.

Wind watch update

This morning just before sunrise the wind was generating 7% of power across SE Australia at a capacity factor of 12% (almost down to the 10% for a severe wind drought.) South Australia (the wind leading state) was importing two thirds of its demand and the local generation was 80% gas! A bit of a gap there!

This evening at dinnertime WA was down to 1% of power from the wind. In the East the wind was doing much better, delivering 3% of the demand at a capacity factor of 7 (severe drought.) Victoria is the big wind state with more capacity than SA, though not per capita, and their windmills contributed 1% of demand at capacity 1.4%. Their capacity factor was below 5% for the previous 24 hours!

Approaching 10pm nothing has changed, the wind across the SE is delivering 4% because the total demand has gone down, still the capacity factor in SA is 1.2 and in Victoria 2.8! This is a shot of the NemWatch widget, it is a live display so it will change.

This is the AEMO data dashboard, this is also live, this display shows the flows between the states, see the Fuel Mix tab at the top to find what the different sources are providing.

The wind supply over 24 hours. This is the rolling 24-hour display at Aneroid Energy. Tick and untick the boxes to see individual states. This is the 24-hour display for all sources on the same page.