Loon Pond stirs on energy

From King Toad of the Loon Pond:

Mr Abbott said the nation’s power system should be run to provide “affordable, reliable energy, not primarily to reduce emissions”.

“My anxiety, based on the reports we have seen, is that the scenario which the Finkel report is recommending gives us not 50 per cent, but 70 per cent renewable energy by 2030 and coal, which is by far the cheapest source of base load power, and in most years is our biggest single export, coal goes from currently 65 per cent to 25 per cent of total energy generation,” he said.

“Anything that makes it impossible for us to bank new, efficient coal-fired power stations I think is a big mistake.

“The Liberal Party has to be the party that you can rely on to bring power prices down, let the Labor party be the people who send prices up. I’ve spent a lot of time talking about Electricity Bill Shorten, the last thing we want to do is let Electricity Bill off the hook.”

He also pointed out the global Paris agreement on climate change only set aspirational targets and was “not binding, it is not mandatory”, but stopped short of saying Australia should follow America’s lead and withdraw.

“As prime minister I made the point that we would use our best endeavours to get emissions down by 26-28 per cent, but we weren’t going to clobber the economy in order to reduce emissions,” he told radio station 2GB.

We could dismiss this as ravings of the lunatic fringe but we can’t. Within 12 months wither he or one his cronies will be prime minister as Newspolls keep dishing up the shit right along with the crashing Budget.

It’s a shame because the LET even has former hard core resistance to a carbon price on board:

In an interview with The Australian­ ahead of the release ­tomorrow of the Finkel review into energy security, BlueScope chief executive Paul O’Malley said the government had a chance to reverse a decade of bad policy by adopting a low emissions target­ that addressed climate change but did not lock out coal.

“We need reliable and secure baseload power,” Mr O’Malley said. “We are technology agnostic … but there are problems with ­renewable technologies … they don’t provide baseload power.

“The other fundamental issue is affordability, in both gas energy and power. The detail needs to be sorted out … (but) the government is on the cusp of a transform­ational policy. The lens through which this has been viewed has ­ignored the fact we need reliable, affordable and secure baseload. For the first time in 10 years we are finally addressing all three.”

No we don’t. We need an energy system that produces reliable, low carbon and cheap power. It doesn’t need to have any coal in it at all as the renewable/battery revolution grows. It can and should be tech agnostic.



  1. Ronin8317MEMBER

    Given the price of gas right now, it makes more sense to use coal for peak load generation, rather than baseload.

      • Ronin8317MEMBER

        I read that Germany is doing this with their coal power plants right now. You don’t turn it off, you just run it between 40% and full capacity depending on projected demand. Days with peak demand is often known well ahead of time.

  2. In engineering there’s an axiom: “Light, strong, cheap. Choose two.” I suspect your “cheap, reliable, low emissions” needs that “choose two” stuck on the end too.

    • HadronCollision

      not in 5 years
      batteries will be cheap (a relative term), reliable and low emissions

    • Luckily renewable energy generation follows IT rather than engineering. What’s expensive, reliable and low emissions yesterday will be mass market tomorrow.

      To elaborate, things in IT usually follows S bend. Consider SSDs. They were expensive back in the days, and HDDs were still king. However once SSDs reached a critical point, it suddenly skyrocketed and pushed HDDs to pretty much the NAS market.

  3. bolstroodMEMBER

    In a lovely piece of juxtaposition in todays SMH (paper copy… hey I need to light the fire.)
    Next to the Abbott article on page 5 is this, from Peter Hannam…
    and , whatsmore, the poll was taken just after the SA blackouts.
    Roar and stamp as much as he likes , Abbott and friends will be left behind by the populace’s embrace of the future,
    and it is Renewables.
    Follow the money.

  4. Here’s a good ‘The Money’ podcast on the Aus electricity market here if people want a basic understanding of the current problems (and proposed solutions:

    Also, I’ve just started reading Drawdown, which is excellent for people interested in Climate Change and solutions:

  5. All of Australia’s wind farms, with installed capacity of 4395MW, have averaged 400MW for the last 24 hours.
    The cost to get on-demand energy from such an intermittent source is astronomical. Power bills will increase at least 3 times from where they are now. There is no magic bullet that it going to dramatically reduce the cost of the energy collection components and the necessary storage system that are needed to give reliable supply. As the demand for lithium surges the cost of batteries are actually rising; not falling as popular predictions project.

    Fundamentally there is little benefit to scale with renewables so the low cost option is to to go off grid. Free roof space for panels and room in the garage for battery eliminates the siting costs. With managed use through June and July most households in southern Australia could be energy independent with an outlay less than $100,000.

    Heavy industry just moves to China where they have low cost electricity courtesy of Australia’s low cost, high quality thermal coal.