Climate clippings 116

1. South Australia wants an apology from the PM

On September 28 we had the first anniversary of the dirty big storm the brought down the power pylons in South Australia causing a state-wide blackout, as the Heywood interconnector exceeded capacity and tripped.

Now the state want an apology from the PM. Energy minister Tom Koutsantonis:

    “Rather than step up and provide support and leadership at a time of need, Mr Turnbull chose to attempt to damage our reputation.

    “Debate in Federal Parliament consisted of members of the government making jokes about South Australia at a time when many households and businesses where without power and dealing with damage to property caused by the storm.

    “South Australians will not forget it.”

I don’t think any of us will eithr. At that point, all credibility in the Coal_ition’s policy discourse on energy evaporated.

2. South Australia leads again as saltwater pumped hydro storage takes shape

When Northern Power Station in Port Augusta closed in May 2016, SA became the first coal-free powered state after Tasmania. Now a shining new venture is being born. An Australian-first seawater pumped hydro project proposed for Cultana in the Spencer Gulf just across the bay from the old power station has passed a major milestone with a successful feasibility report finding no “show stoppers” to the development.

    The proposed 225 MW seawater pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) project would be sited on the Spencer Gulf, not far from former coal town Port Augusta, and will have a capacity of 1770 MWh, holding almost 14 times more than Elon Musk’s ‘megabattery’.

SA reached 59% combined wind and solar penetration in July. At times wind goes to waste, because it is in excess of demand. This facility will have the capacity to harvest that power and shift it to a time when it is needed. It can fire up to full load in 150 seconds and run for eight hours.

From this post, here’s the layout:

3. Origin trials blockchain technology

    Origin has partnered with blockchain energy market provider Power Ledger to trial its peer-to-peer energy-trading platform.

    The technical trial involves using anonymised and historical customer data to explore the benefits and challenges of peer-to-peer energy trading across the regulated network.

4. Construction begins on 110MWDC Bannerton Solar Park in Victoria

The project, located at Almas Almonds in Victoria’s Sunraysia district, is being developed by a joint venture between Foresight Group and Syncline Energy. It has debt finance from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) but no grant money.

Ian Learmonth, CEO of the CEFC:

    “Previously it wasn’t viable to construct solar of this scale in Victoria, which has good insolation rates, but not as high as the northern states,” Mr Learmonth said.

    “We have witnessed rapidly improving economic conditions that now make this project commercially viable without the need for grant funding.

The project has deals to sell the electricity to Alinta and the Victorian government.

There’s more at RenewEconomy.

5. Gas deal signed, but electricity prices may be 25% higher than official list

East coast gas exporters have signed a formal agreement with the federal government to ensure Australia has sufficient gas supply for 2018 and 2019.

However, the International Energy Agency (IEA) may be underestimating Australian household energy bills by 25 per cent because of a lack of accurate data from the federal government.

The IEA’s Key World Energy Statistics 2017 has Australia as having the 11th most expensive electricity prices in the OECD.

    In fact, if South Australia were a country it would have the highest energy prices in the OECD, and typical households in New South Wales, Queensland or Victoria would be in the top five.

6. Digging into Adani

Four Corners investigated Adani in the program this week. It’s worse than we imagined. An endemically corrupt company, it has the Indian police and justice system in it’s pocket. Environmental vandals, with company structures using tax havens to pay no tax. Their word is not their bond.

Yet the Australian government and the Palaszczuk Labor government doubled down in their support.

Allowing unlimited extraction of underground water for 60 years is extraordinary and beggars belief. This graph of the impact on the Hunter coal province shows how pointless the whole exercise is, leaving aside the impact on climate and the Great Barrier Reef:


It is evident that another electoral cycle will need to pass before Labor finds its courage on coal.

There was also reporting on the program at Fairfax.

7. India to install solar plus storage in all homes by 2018

There used to be a story that we were exporting coal to India for humanitarian reasons, so that hundreds of millions could have power.

    The Indian government has pledged to broaden the roll-out of solar and battery storage to households without power in rural and remote towns and villages, as a part of a newly launched $2.5 billion project to electrify all of the country’s households by the end of 2018.

8. Can we save the Reef

Professor Emma Johnston was our guide in the ABC Catalyst program. She is professor of marine ecology at the University of New South Wales and on the Board of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Heritage Board, so has a role in advising what to do to try to save the reef.

We saw masses of bleached coral, but also interesting information on how the reef had changed over thousands of years coming out of the last ice age when sea levels rose 120 metres.

The focus was on breeding corals that might survive warming in cooperation with the University of Hawaii.

My comments are that perhaps I was too drowsy, but I don’t recall seeing anything about the impact of acidification. Also there seemed to be complete unawareness of the possibility of five metres of sea level rise by the end of the century, which of course would not stop there.

Finally, the sheer vastness of the GBR makes the exercise look like using zoos to save threatened animal species.

See also:

220 thoughts on “Climate clippings 116”

  1. I thought Four Corners went soft on Adani. Sarah Ferguson can be a raging bull terrier if she gets into something but I thought she played a docile role. Perhaps they rushed the program a bit too much.

    I’ve spoken to some politicians and they explain the Adani support in terms of jobs. Their job, the Party incumbency, especially the Cabinet and finally the public perception that the Adani project will bring jobs to the region Gladstone – Townsville. Truth is, the actual jobs (according to Adani’s court-sworn testimony) is only 1,456, not 10,000 as commonly cited Adani publicity has it. And some of those will come from existing mines as pre-trained/experienced workers.

    The Carmichael coal is inferior, and according to Prof. Quiggin, warrants a 30% discount against the standard thermal capacity of say, Newcastle coal. That works heavily against the profitability of the mine. Prof Quiggins has generated an analysis of the project and concludes that it is just not viable.

    That 13 of the present 26 Adani Australia companies reside ultimately in the Cayman Islands is a warning. One of those companies “owns” the proposed railway that the federal government is wanting to fund through NAIF. That rail must carry coal to generate revenue and thus a profit. But being based in the Cayman Islands, they can send any profit away, rather than paying the loan off. And possibly avoid any action the ATO might try and take. Further, if Adani takes no coal from Carmichael, they still “own” the railway that Australia paid for. If any of the other touted mines for the Galilee Basin (there are as many as nine) open up, they must pay Adani to freight their coal. So Adani earns from a nearly free railway and does not even mine coal.

    There are just dozens of good reason why Adani and Carmichael should no exist, it is so wrong on so many fronts.
    Perhaps Jumpy will offer his opinion since he lives in the coal belt.

    Very recently, Prof Andrew Blakers (ANU) published a report identifying 22,000 (sic) site where pumped hydro is potentially viable in Australia. See:
    I’ve banged on about this before, mentioning Kidston as a real, happening example of pumped hydro.

    A string of pumped hydro stations down the east coast is good for the environment, creates jobs and offers energy security.
    If we could manage the Snowy with just 8 million people we can surely fund the pumped hydro options. And if we can do the NBN for $40+ billion, we should not be shy of the cost. In any event, as we are wont to do, we could invite foreign companies in with their own capital.

  2. Geoff, I think having Sarah Ferguson hosting Four Corners is meant to give the program credibility and is actually a waste of a good journalist. I don’t see her as having anything much to do with the programs.

    Thanks for the rest of the information, especially tax havens. I had heard that Jackie Trad was against supporting the railway but got rolled. I doubt Labor is going to win any seats through supporting Adani, but could lose Trad’s to the Greens, which would be ironic.

  3. Wait a sec, India is spending $2,500 millions to give solar and batteries to 300 million people, is that right ?
    What’s that, $8.35 a a year….

    That’s fantastic and incredible!

  4. ” …SA became the first coal-free powered state after Tasmania. ”
    That’s a bit like saying I’m drug free because I don’t grow it but I get it from someone else and use it.

  5. A little bit goes a long way, apparently. It did seem a bit light on, but magical things happen in India!

    That’s a bit like saying I’m drug free because I don’t grow it but I get it from someone else and use it.

    A bit, yes. SA often, if you look at NEM Watch, produces less power than NZ, so they get it from Victoria, which is backed up by mainly black coal in NSW and Qld.

  6. Overheard conversations of the distant past:…

    “That neighbour of mine bought one of those Model T Ford contraptions, why when he’s got 6 perfectly good horses. I saw his horses towing his car to town yesterday ’cause he ran out of that Gas..o…line. Ha, should a stuck with the horses. next thing he’s gunna want to have some of that E..lec…trictee!”

  7. Cultana pumped hydro has a design head of 260 meters. The figure that I recall from the past (subject to verification) for pumped hydro is .27 Kwhrs per cubic meter per 100 meters fall.

  8. The SA coal fired stations were down to summer operating only when the owner shut them down because they weren’t making money (and privatized power stations are under no obligation to keep going if they aren’t making money are they?) The coal had to come from Leigh Creek which meant this mine would only have been operating 6 months per yr too.
    The new solar tower will replace the coal fired and have similar operating characteristics.

  9. John, does the Cultana project have a solar tower? I was under the impression that it was just going to take excess electricity off the grid when demand was low.

    There is another solar tower project near Port Augusta associated with growing tomatoes.

  10. Brian I think Jackie Trad was instrumental in avoiding a proposed $300 million loan to Adani. The compromise, as I understand, was to defer royalties for a period. Interest was supposedly levied on the unpaid royalties.

    I had thought that forum interest in pumped hydro would be stronger. May I respectfully encourage readers to take a further look at the idea. As I see it, the concept ticks an awful lot of boxes. It is clean, provides jobs, is quickly ramped up to smooth power or provide the legendary “base load” and it has a near infinite operating life. Prof. Blakers from ANU has this website that offers serious detail and credibility for those wanting more insight.

  11. I’ m interested Geoff.

    So many advantages, and presumably it can link to other projects. For example tourism for hydro power lakes.

    There was some concern about environmental flows in the Snowy River, especially in its lower reaches I think, from the 1990s and perhaps earlier.

    Efficiency of power conversion would be important.

    As an aside, I recall someone in the 1980s saying it was a more efficient use of Bass Strait natural gas, to pipe it to domestic stoves; rather than pipe it to the Jeeralang gas turbine generator and then pipe electric power to domestic hotplates. Conversion losses; some transmission losses; electric hot plate elements less efficient at heating saucepans than gas flames(??)

  12. Thanks Ambigulous. The Snowy river was starved of environmental flows from the start. More recently some water was supposed to be returned but I don’t know if that happened.

    The generating efficiency is the same as any hydro turbine. I’m not sure about the uphill return. Apparently Kidston plans to reverse its turbine so they become a pump to recharge the upper reservoir. I don’t know how efficient that is.

    One of the potential cost-savers is that existing power lines servicing towns close to hydro can be used as grid connections

  13. Most Australians oppose Adani:

    Liberal voters were almost split down the middle – 39.3% backed the mine and 34.1% opposed it, while 25.7% were undecided.

    A clear majority of most other voters opposed the mine proceeding – 69% of Labor, 58% of National and 90% of Greens voters. Among the One Nation voters, more opposed the mine going ahead (44.9%) than supported it (37.7%).

  14. Maybe the Stop Adani Alliance could have commissioned a survey of Queenslanders, it’s our coal and our jobs.
    Looks like it targeted Tas and SA getup members.

  15. Maybe the Stop Adani Alliance could have commissioned a survey of Queenslanders

    Are you suggesting Queenslanders weren’t included in the poll?
    The article seems to indicate they were:

    The ReachTel survey of almost 2,200 people across Australia found 55.6% of respondents opposed the mine going ahead. That was more than twice the number who supported the mine, with 18.4% of respondents saying they were “undecided”.

  16. Wait for the next CC, Jumpy, renewables are taking over.

    Also people can be wrong. That’s how we’ve stuffed up the planet in the first place. Opinion polls are of interest, but there is no reason to think the majority are right.

    Donald Dunstan was the first in Oz to use opinion polls politically. He was interested in what opinions he needed to change through his leadership.

  17. Jumpy: Do you know why Mackay missed out on Adani’s list of FIFO towns?
    Was Mackay unwilling to pay for Adani’s airport in order to get a few FIFO workers? Mackay is closer to the mine as the aircraft flies?
    Do you think a megamine is is likely to be financially viable if it needs $20m from local councils to get started? (Would you be wary of signing a contract with a company like Adani?)

  18. John
    To my mind charmical mine and Adani have some big problems, coal production and use are not one of them, they’ll just dig it and burn it from somewhere else. The Paris agreement lets them.

    My gripe is taxpayers forking out for a rail line ( train road ) if it’s single use and not useable by other industry.

    The $ 1 billion price tag, if put in perspective is less than 1 months intrest on our foreign debt or about 9 ssm surveys.

    If renewables take over, great, but without subsidies for either FFs or FFless.

  19. Sorry John I didn’t answer your questions, here goes..
    No, don’t know, not a question, don’t know, ( yes ).

  20. Jumpy many of Carmichael’s problems become ours. It’s not just the loans. Adani has been given unlimited water for sixty years. That will affect the water table depth and quality over very wide areas. Not good and impossible to fix.

    Consider the ships that carry the coal to India. One figure says 500per year. Empty of coal the ships return to Abbott Point with water ballast drawn from Indian waters. Those waters amount to a bio-risk because they can bring exotic pests to the lagoon. The maritime rule is that ships discharge that water at sea and replace with clean ocean water. Adani shows little respect for rules – that is clear. So can we trust those ships to comply, be seaworthy and skilfully navigate the reef?
    Jumpy the proposal is bad on every front. Jobs? Practically nil. The dump trucks are unmanned, and likely the trains as well. That’s enough from me ….

  21. Geoff, just the water worries me. Mining 60 million tonnes pa requires a helluva lot of washing. It’s almost bound to suck the aquifers dry even if digging a ruddy great hole doesn’t. And then where does the waste water go? This is the first mine in the headwaters of the rivers flowing towards Lake Eyre and the Chanel Country. Polluting that area would be criminal.

  22. The Chanel Country, Monsieur???
    You mean the French perfume industry is also at risk??
    Zut alors!
    You Australians ‘ave no respect for culture. Or fashion.

    If I may be serious for a microsecond, a $1 billion “loan” for a railway line sounds a poor investment. There may be other exporters wanting to use the rail link. I think Brian mentioned them a few months back. But Adani would be a railway monopoly in that business.

    Water table is a huge problem.
    For years, folk have been wondering about the ‘artesian bores’ in central Australia.
    Now groundwater, all over the agricultural regions in many States, is being monitored and at last being widely discussed. Rivers, lakes and rainfall are only the “tip of the water iceberg”.

    /artesian bore

  23. For years, folk have been wondering about the ‘artesian bores’ in central Australia.

    For years now, they have been capping bores which used to run freely, and pastoralists have had to moderate their usage. I think the recharge cycle operates over millions of years.

    In many parts of the world, including the US, underground water is being unsustainably mined. We used to think we were a bit more intelligent about it.

  24. Brian at 10:55pm (you should be asleep Brian 🙂

    The water worries are real. I hear from what should be a reliable source that Adani is subject to 300+ strict environmental conditions. Of course we know already that Adani India has no respect for rules. My (elected) reliable source sent me the following:

    * ‘Adani must ‘return’ at least 730 mega-litres of water per year for five years to the Great Artesian Basin to replace water used during mining.’ Return water quality was not mentioned, nor was the ‘…five years…’ given a temporal dimension. Which five years for example. Nor was there mention of oversight – who was responsible for compliance monitoring.

    * [Adani] ‘…must provide and improve 31,000 hectares of southern black-throated finch habitat, 135 hectares of ornamental snake habitat, and 5,600 hectares of yakka skink habitat.’ Again no mention of oversight. And no mention of protecting humans and human habitat either.

    * ‘ Adani must provide $1 million for research programs to improve conservation of threatened species in the Galilee Basin.’ Clever move, sounds good and might keep one or two universities quiet. So what if a study finds a threatened species? Is there a protocol in place that funds rectification or threat mitigation?

    * ‘It must also protect Doongmabulla Springs by restricting drawdown water to 20cm.’ That’s about 8 inches and hard to monitor because of lag between extraction and consequence at other points. Again, who is to monitor this and what protocol is in place to deal with breaches.

    Doongmabulla Springs Is a nationally important wetland. See GHD’s 2013 report below. The executive summary should be enough to read.

    Brian I have seen no comments on where the mine waste water will go let alone how it will be managed at site. Even worse, as Ambigulous mentions there are already concerns over the lowering of water levels in the GAB where wells have flowed uncapped for over 100 years. To knowingly give anyone unlimited access to such a resource is a sorry indictment upon the quality of our governance.

  25. Its all too horrible for me to contemplate. Qld Labour continues to disappoint. As a manufacturer I can think of many better ways to turn 1 billion dollars into far greater employment with the initial investment able to be recycled every five years.

    Remember Peter Beaty pledging 500 million for the development of “clean coal”? What is it with Qld and coal? Is there a secret agenda here? Perhaps to get Adani to dig a massive 300 metre deep hole to be later used for a pumped hydro energy storage scheme?

  26. I’m sure you’re right about the timescale of the recharge cycle, Brian.

    Water seeps very very slowly through soil, rock, gravel etc. From what I’ve heard around the edges of the fracking debate, underground water flow is not well understood.

    Here in Gippsland there was occasional heavy rainfall in a small range of hills south of Morwell/Hazelwood, the Jeeralangs. Only 15 to 25 km from Morwell. A journalist asked how long it would take for the bulk of a recent heavy downpour to reach land near Morwell.

    Answer: about a million years.

    Overland flow, floods, streams, rivers and farm run-off are relatively easy to see and measure. The rest, we have a lot to learn about…..

  27. Don’t know what to say. Good information there Geoff, but it doesn’t make pretty reading.

    You can bet that the government won’t have inspectors crawling all over the site if/when it is developed. That sort of thing gets outsourced these days, and you get what you pay for.

    I know that the ‘make good” provisions in relation to aquifers is notorious in the CSG business. The onus is on those effected to prove fault, but bore levels go up and down in the normal course of events. So you need a constant monitoring system that will hold up in court.

    BilB, I guess the development of the Bowen basin coal (1960s?) was a huge boost to the Queensland economy, and has been normalised in our psyche. Certainly the more recent boom sucked a lot of labour and skills out of the rest of the economy, so we became dependent on the industry.

  28. JD would probably be the most knowledgeable man here to ask about coal mine contamination of ground water in long established mine sites, I can’t recall any big stinks about that in the past.

    There should be a bigger stink about fire fighting foam and lead from iron ore mining.

  29. Jumpy: Lead from iron ore mining is a new one for me. In Australia?
    Haven’t got any details re coal mining but did a very rough calc for for a 30 mt per yr mine and assuming the exit streams might average 15% moisture. The 30 mt mine would would require 100 mm rain over only 45 km2 to make up this annual loss.
    There are other issues with water and coal mining:
    In some places the water they pump out of mines is saline. In some cases this water is retained until it can be pumped into rivers during high water flows or can simply be put back into the pits.
    Collinsville has acid problems with waste water due to the very reactive pyrites. (The waste water can be as acidic as coca cola!) The problem could be reduced by covering the waste dumps.
    If you look at areas in the Bowen basin and the Hunter valley that have been fully rehabilitated it is difficult to tell the difference from undisturbed land.
    My main objections to Adani are;
    1. It is going to produce greenhouse gases and may slow the switch to renewables in other countries.
    2. It will take away sales and help suppress prices for existing Australian thermal coal producers.
    3. It looks like a financial dud that will continue to seek financial help from Australian governments. Its hit on the Rockhampton and Townsville ratepayers simply reinforces this impression.
    4. Adani’s reputation should be a cause for concern.

  30. Brian,
    re “6. Digging into Adani

    I recommend you have a look at the Australian Senate Environment and Communications References Committee inquiry into the “Retirement of coal-fired power stations”, particularly the examination of witness Tim Buckley on 22 February 2017, at their Sydney public hearing. In the Official Committee Hansard of this hearing, on page 42, Tim Buckley, representing IEEFA, states:

    The seaborne market is, I would guesstimate, 95 per cent 12-month contracts or spot, so 12 months or less. There are no long-term contracts of any magnitude in the seaborne market. To bring it to a close, thermal pricing for exports is determined by Chinese government policy. China has a very clear policy to move away from coal. Coal production in China dropped 9.4 per cent last year alone, and seaborne coal is a marginal high-cost source of supply, so it gets whipped around depending on China’s policy. To me, the more important aspect is what is happening to the volume of seaborne thermal coal demand. In China, it dropped by 10 per cent in 2014, dropped by 30 per cent in 2015, rebounded 26 per cent when they massively curtailed their domestic production and will continue dropping, I think, to probably zero by the end of this decade.

    The second largest thermal coal import market in the world is India. Two years ago, Indian energy minister Goyal articulated a very clear plan to cease thermal coal imports by and large by 2020. I do not think it is any surprise that imports in December dropped 25 per cent year on year, and January 2017—the stats came out just yesterday—was down another 22 per cent. His plan to cease thermal coal imports by the end of this decade is entirely economically driven, and his economic rationale is supported by the solar contract I just mentioned. Solar in India is now cheaper than existing domestic coal-fired power generation. It is half the price of new imported coal-fired power generation. So the seaborne thermal coal market is in total structural decline. Australia needs to transition that industry as fast as we transition our domestic power generation.

    In 2016, China and India combined, represented roughly 40% of the volume of global seaborne thermal coal demand. Japan, South Korea and Taiwan (JKT) combined, accounted for about 29%.

    JKT dominates Australia’s coal-export industry, accounting for 142 Mtpa, or 70%, of Australia’s export total. China is at 15% and India accounts for 3%. IEEFA sees collective JKT imports declining by up to 2% annually.

    If Tim Buckley’s (IEEFA) data and analysis is correct, then with India’s thermal coal imports declining towards zero by around 2020, and China probably heading that way also, there will be many global export coal suppliers competing for a rapidly dwindling number of consumers. Who would be buying coal produced from the proposed Adani Carmichael Mine (or any other new thermal coal mines)?

    And if the IEEFA data and analysis is not sufficiently compelling to change the minds of the “coal is good for humanity” ideologues, perhaps comments from major financiers may be more compelling. On 26 May 2017, the Australian Financial Review reported comments from Jim Barry, global head of infrastructure investment for BlackRock (the world’s largest investor), who said:

    “Coal is dead. That’s not to say all the coal plants are going to shut tomorrow. But anyone who’s looking to take beyond a 10-year view on coal is gambling very significantly.”

    Why isn’t the NSW State Government protesting to the Feds about the likely loss of jobs in, and loss of royalties from the NSW coal industry due to competition potentially from a tax-payer subsidised Adani Carmichael Mine?

    Why does both the Federal Coalition and the Labor Queensland governments continue to promote/support these new coal-related projects? Can anyone please explain the logic in doing so?

  31. Geoff Miell

    Thanks for the detail.
    Was that evidence given by Tim Buckley you’ve drawn our attention to, reported in the press? Were other views reported?

    His figures suggest an 18% drop in exports by 2020 if China and India cease purchasing sea-borne thermal coal.

  32. Geoff M it has puzzled me for some time why the Federal and State governments and their respective oppositions support Adani.
    In the Correspondence section of the current Quarterly Essay (Moral Panic 101) there are some helpful responses to Anna Klein’s QE “The long Goodbye…”. I’m not sure that the complete answer can be found anywhere.
    I did tackle some politicians though. The most honest answer was that MP’s were protecting their own jobs by towing what they perceived to be the electorates view. That is, the voters saw jobs as the most important issue and that is the defense of an especially irrational position. It gains Party support because the grip on power is very weak, and the coal belt – Gladstone – Townsville is considered strongly in favour of jobs over all else: offending those voters could win or lose power. So that covers politicians jobs as the two main drivers of Carmichael. Whether the voters are informed about the number of Adani jobs I doubt. Under oath (Qld Land Court, 2015), Adani conceded that a mere 1464 jobs would be created, not 10,000+ as still gets reported, even by our PM. The CFMEU is surly about Adani because it will be highly automated – trucks, trains and loaders will be unmanned.
    I think it is about perceived jobs for workers, and the preservation of incumbency of our elected Ones.

    Ambigulous I see your query to Geoff M and I can’t answer that. But there is a good and recent report from John Quiggin that deals with the viability of Carmichael and of course our various loans and concessions (think Rockhampton’s pledge to spend $20 million of the FIFO airport at Carmichael.)

  33. And in news just dribbling out*, Minister Frydenberg may abandon a Clean Energy Target….. no further subsidies for renewable energy plants after 2020.

    Yes Minister.

    We’re on our own, but we always were, eh?

    * Fairfax, Australian, Guardian

  34. Ambigulous,

    I attended the Senate inquiry Sydney public hearing as an observer. The media was there earlier in the day and interviewed some of the earlier witnesses at the morning tea break – some appeared on the evening TV news as sound bites.

    Tim Buckley was in the last group to appear and the TV media had already left. I don’t recall any obvious press being there.

    I’ve made a presentation to my Federal Member as a concerned citizen & constituent in May, and received a response from Minister Frydenberg in July.

    I’ve also made a similar presentation to my NSW State Member in July, and I’m waiting on a response from Minister Harwin (>10 weeks and counting).

    I get the impression our energy security is all too hard for our leaders. I hope I’m wrong about this.

    People need to become aware of our looming energy security situation and demand effective action, or risk an existential threat. Sorry for the doom and gloom, but we need to wake up and start doing!

  35. existential threat

    I’ve done it before, but I’m having another go in the next post. Sorry from me too, but I don’t want my granddaughter saying, “What did you do?”

  36. So, Geoff M

    The daily schedule of a Senate enquiry doesn’t match the schedule of a TV news bulletin…..

    Bad Luck

    Or to put it another way, lazy journalism

  37. Ambigulous,

    Yep – I’ve been to a few inquiries and have noticed most journos get bored quickly – and there are deadlines. Unless you appear early in the proceedings, you probably won’t get noticed by the media.

    The other problem is the transcripts take awhile to be published – the draft was released about a week later – so the story is already stale in news circles.


    It’s one thing to plan to build, or then build a coal-fired power station. It’s another to actually operate/use one. Tim Buckley made that point at the Senate inquiry hearing referred in my comment above – with China in 2016 having a coal-fired power station utilisation rate at 47.5% (if I remember correctly) – roughly half idle. Likely “stranded assets” if more do get built, or they are replacing retired units.

    Be careful accepting at face value what some of the media and coal proponents are saying – usually only the convenient bits are highlighted, and the inconvenient bits are ignored.

  38. Geoff Miell, you say-

    Be careful accepting at face value what some of the media and coal proponents are saying – usually only the convenient bits are highlighted, and the inconvenient bits are ignored.

    And I agree, a lot of bias out there to be skeptically processed.
    Endcoal and IEEFA, being staunchly anti-coal, should approached similarly.

  39. Jumpy

    With your deep scepticism and rigour, would you accept the bona fides of Allen Finkel? Minister Frydenberg? Minister Greg Hunt? PM Turnbull? PM Abbott? PM Gillard? PM Rudd? PM Howard?

    What about former PM Thatcher? I believe she had a degree in Chemistry…

    Where to turn??

  40. Brian, that Brookings report on the Indian Energy Sector is a solid and impressive read which highlights the great difference between providing power for a nation long deprived of access to electricity and upgrading power to a country such as ours which takes energy unfetterred access as a right.

    Australia’s difficulties pale to insignificance to those of India especially considering their commitment to action on Climate Change, again against Australia’s miserly commitment.

    Given the above, those who would use cheery picked aspects of India’s development plan to somehow excuse Australia’s failures show a repugnant degree of arrogance and ignorance.

    And speaking of such people did you see that hyper Climate Denialist Tony Abbott has been praised, following his London speech, by Donald Trump with an offer of a postion of honour in his “administration”?

  41. Jumpy,

    The bias filter must always be switched on! That’s why it is always unwise to rely on single information sources. Always look for independent, credible, corroborating sources – and it’s not always foolproof, unfortunately.

  42. Brian, I heard that from someone commenting on the ABC last night and could not find it yet myself. So please consider that part of the comment as retracted until I can cross reference it.

  43. GeoffH, I’m sure it will be referred to on Stephen Colbert (they have a superior Trump watch team) in due course. #WAITING!

  44. Geoff:

    with China in 2016 having a coal-fired power station utilisation rate at 47.5% (if I remember correctly) – roughly half idle. Likely “stranded assets” if more do get built, or they are replacing retired units.

    It is a bit hard to tell what 47-5% utilization means given the variation in demand over each day and the year. There has to be a lot of unused capacity most of the time if you are going to meet peak demands. This is why strategies aimed at reducing peak demand are important.

  45. John, yes.
    A bit like why multi lane highways are built for peak times, yet outside that there is only moderate to low traffic.

  46. Jumpy, yes.

    Which is why measures are introduced to try to lower peak traffic volumes
    e.g. stagger working hours;
    make efficient public transport more attractive; get children to walk or bike to school; get adults to cycle; synchronise traffic lights; ration vehicles at freeway on-ramps…..

    And this ties back to emission reduction, partly because slow or stationary vehicles are fuel-inefficient; and not using a hydrocarbon vehicle at all means fewer emissions.

    So Jumpy: any suggestions on reducing peak electricity demand?

  47. It’s tied predominantly to our lifestyle.
    If school and work starting times could be staggered would make a difference. There’s no natural reason for some of them

    I’ll see if I can find weekday demand v weekend demand graphs to compare.

    Some union penalty rate may have to go though so I think it’s out of the question here.

  48. Jumpy, staggered business work start hours have been proposed for years. It never happens, not because of unions from whom there is no argument, it is entirely due to lobbying, I believe, from the likes of Murdoch and other media industry players simply because it disrupts their peakhour audience numbers and hence their advertising revenues.

  49. I think unions and media were both together on it BilB.
    Hard to split the 2 nowadays.

    Let’s face it, if it’s going to be as hot as they say we’ll all be working in the night time coz its too hot throughout the day.

  50. Thanks for that BilB, that just about summarises my position on this. By all accounts we have about 5 years to transform the world we life in for humanity to make it. The old left-right, red-blue, union-bosses, etc. world view just does not cut it anymore, this isn’t a game anymore. A much more pragmatic view has to be adopted which allows for smoother transitional management of our nation. And we have to make our mind up wether we are all in this together or not.

    You know BilB, I often wonder why Rupert is milking this situation for all what it’s worth. And what kind of a game he is playing. I usually don’t read biographies, but if anyone can recommend a good one on Rupert I’d appreciate.

  51. depends what you mean by “good”.

    Is Rupert a good man?

    He fought the print unions and journalists in Fleet Street in the early 1980s.

    Remember the good old 80s?
    Remember journalists??

  52. Some managers allow a little flexibility in arrival and departure times for employees… mostly white collar? Some (fewer) allow an employee to work a little “from home”.

    Both would (in a very minor way) reduce commuting to work, hence emissions [unless the employees were travelling in electric (solar powered) vehicles].


    Jumpy, I was thinking of grosser measures: if air con is a large summer component of electrical peaks,
    i) require a level of rooftop solar be installed with any new air con.
    ii) improve efficiency of air con
    iii) improve summer shading of homes and factories and offices
    iv) improve home insulation
    v) install more passive cooling requiring no electric power
    vi) make sure every suburb not near a beach has a shaded public swimming pool
    vii) encourage installation of air con with lower power demands, e.g. ‘evaporative’ if it works where the householder/office manager is;


    There you go.

  53. Fair question Ambi, I guess good for me is, analytical approach taken and enriching to read. I am a sucker for valid and relevant research and a well structured and written story which reveals the character of the protagonist. Murdoch is a complex person, I’d like to know what he is made off. Any story fundamentally falls into 7 basic plots.
    1.Overcoming the Monster,
    2.Rags to Riches,
    3.The Quest,
    4.Voyage and Return,
    6.Comedy and
    I am curious where will Murdoch’s story and for that matter ours will end up with all of this?

    Then there are Idiots like this:
    “Primitive people once killed goats to appease the volcano gods,” he said.

    “We are more sophisticated now but are still sacrificing our industries and our living standards to the climate gods to little more effect.”
    What does it take for his supporters to realise, that Abbott was not only a total disaster for this nation, but he let his supporters down the garden path and up shit creek without a paddle.
    You can’t argue the tragedy of this figure away anymore, he is imbedded in our confrontational national debate and failing infrastructures.

    Btw here is our Roger Jones take on Abbott’s speech . Who on earth is still going to swallow Abbott’s unsubstantiated and divisive snake oil from here on? Anyone who still takes him and his views seriously is seriously deluded or as I said earlier, cognitively challenged with no capacity for critical thinking, akin to emotional state of tired children.

  54. Rupert’s dad was a very influential Press owner and somewhat “modern” in 1930s, 1940s Australia. e.g. bringing an exhibition of “modern art” here, to the annoyance of some critics.

    Rupert’s mum lived to a ripe old age and was beloved in Melbourne and Victoria for her grace and generosity. She regularly opened her interesting garden for charity fund raising events.

    Watch out pronouncing Deng correctly.

  55. This is just gossip, but there has been a rumour that young Rupert had a bust of Lenin on the mantelpiece in his room at an Oxford college.

    If so, it seems his views may have changed.

  56. BilB, this is from Ed Milliband:

    The speech sparked a swift reaction here and around the globe, with Britain’s former Labour leader, Ed Miliband, suggesting Mr Abbott’s speech made him worse than US President Donald Trump.

    “I know Donald Trump has lowered the bar for idiocy but …” Mr Miliband tweeted with a link to a Guardian article about Mr Abbott’s comments.

    Don’t know about offering him a position, though.

  57. Jumpy:

    If we’re past the tipping point, what do we do ?

    Basically, go into overdrive and hope for the best.

    But also, work on a Plan B, with triage and difficult decisions may have to be made.

  58. AFAIK no one with any credibility has mentioned that we are past any of the relevant climate tipping points. If we have past a tipping point as a society, economy work employment etc. that is another question. The focus now should be on smooth economic and environmental transition in a form and shape which is pragmatic and doable. We are heading into major changes for multiple reasons wether we like it or not. Now is the time to pay attention to serious risk assessment and an eye for opportunities to take the challenge head on and being proactive.

  59. “SAFAIK no one with any credibility has mentioned that we are past any of the relevant climate tipping point ”

    James Hanson said ” we are on the precipice of climate system tipping points beyond which there is no redemption ” in 2005.
    I’m going with its past.
    With India, China and US still up and rising, the momentum looks too strong.

  60. Jumpy, Hansen takes a long view. A decade or two doesn’t necessarily mean all that much.

    Ootz, I’ve been working on a science/risk update, and a couple of tipping points have been mentioned.

    I’ll take a closer look, rather than go off half-cocked.

    Meanwhile I’m distracted by goofy Abbott.

  61. Brian: If you read about the Milankovitch_cycles and the associated Vostock ice core graphs it looks as though temperatures and the associated changes in CO2 concentrations move through a series of tipping points being reached followed by relatively small rapid changes rather than dramatic change in response to a tipping point being reached. (Having said this the overall 100,000 yr cycle seems to involve a slow cooling/wind down of CO2 level followed by a relatively fast increase in Temp and CO2.) We are probably looking at series of tipping points that can only drive change just so far combine with relatively smooth changes that slowly push temperatures relatively slowly.
    Problem is that we are going above the peak CO2 levels in the ice cores.
    Rising water levels are likely to increase the flow of warm water through the Bering strait. Good news is that I remember reading somewhere that there was rapid surface vegetation growth on the Arctic ocean when it became ice free. This rapid growth led to sequestration of carbon which ended up setting on the arctic ocean floor. Have a good nights sleep.

  62. If you are looking for tipping points you don’t need to look further than this discussion about methane plumes rising from the Arctic.

    Now this is speculation at this stage, but there is plenty of evidence but no quantitative study yet.
    To understand why methane might plume it has about half the density of air:

    Chemical compound
    Methane is a chemical compound with the chemical formula CH₄. It is a group-14 hydride and the simplest alkane, and is the main constituent of natural gas. Wikipedia
    Molar mass: 16.04 g/mol
    Melting point: -182 °C
    Density: 0.656 kg/m³
    Autoignition temperature: 537 °C (999 °F; 810 K)

    The tipping point is to do with how warm water is entering the Arctic and how that is causing a thawing of permafrost and clathrates in the Arctic area.

  63. Bilb: The point I was making about tipping points is that they may start a fast advance but the amount of advance may be limited. For example, a temperature rise may spur the breakdown of a clatherate deposit and the methane released may accelerate warming and methane release until the clatherate deposit is empty. Unless the temp rise is great enough to spur the release of another large deposit the surge will stop until temperatures have reached another tipping point.
    The surge may even reverse due to the breakdown on methane in the atmosphere or more CO2 is removed from the atmosphere due to a spur in land/sea vegetation growth due to warmer arctic temperatures and higher CO2 levels.

  64. John Davidson,

    It is a bit hard to tell what 47-5% utilization means given the variation in demand over each day and the year. There has to be a lot of unused capacity most of the time if you are going to meet peak demands. This is why strategies aimed at reducing peak demand are important.

    Coal-fired power stations are usually big cumbersome things that take several hours to ramp up (and down). This requires and wastes fuel. Coal-fired power stations like to run at constant output – that’s why they are called “base-load”. Running at lower output capacity is less fuel efficient and less profitable.

    Gas-fired (closed cycle) power stations have a shorter response time to ramp up and down (compared with coal-fired) from cold start and respond fairly quickly to variable loads. That’s why they are usually employed as “load followers”. Open cycle gas-fired power stations have a fast response time from cold start and are employed as “peakers”, but they are fairly costly to run for long periods. Hydro power stations can perform as “load followers” or “peakers” or “base-load” so long as the water supply is available.

    China’s coal-fired power station utilization rate in 2016 at less than half installed capacity (according to Tim Buckley) suggests to me the coal industry is less rosy than the coal proponents are saying. And it appears the same could be said for India too. And Japan and South Korea appear to be re-assessing coal-fired electricity generation needs.

    We’ll see how it pans out – but global coal production peaked in 2014 and has declined 2 consecutive years since according to BP Statistical Review of World Energy-2017.

  65. Geoff M: The point I was making is that the variation in power demand over a day and a year means that, on average a substantial amount of capacity stays unused for most of the. If you look at Fig 1 in this article you can see that, even for the average Qld day average unused capacity would be significant. Even higher once you factor in the capacity for peak demand days.

  66. And we accept “downtime” in plenty of other instances, John.

    1. We accept that an airliner puts down to refuel; no air-borne refuelling.
    2. Suburban streets don’t get much use from (say) 11pm to 6am.
    3. Many factories lie idle for 12 hours a day.
    4. House building tools are unused after dark, mostly.
    5. Schools unoccupied overnight, though some community groups might hire rooms between 6pm and 10pm, say.
    6. Public swimming pools generally closed overnight.

    I don’t regard any of these as loss of efficiency or wasted capital.
    Are we being more stringent when analysing energy generation, than we are in other spheres?

    Maintenance schedules can affect down time. How do different power sources compare and contrast on that annual missed time? Can it be scheduled when demand is low?

  67. John Davidson,

    Very few things have 100% duty factor. Usually redundancy covers this.

    For levelised costs of electricity (LCOE) some assumptions are used. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) assumes the duty factor for conventional coal-fired power stations is 85%. So, if the average utilization rate for power stations is less than 50% (as it appears to have been in China in 2016) then the LCOE figures are not a reflection of reality and the true costs of coal-fired generation are being masked – they’re likely to be significantly higher. The long-term cost-competitiveness of coal should be questioned.

    Coal-fired generation is not compatible as back-up for intermittent generation because it cannot respond efficiently and quickly enough to rapid load changes. That’s why coal-fired generation is losing its effectiveness in the energy supply mix as more lower-cost renewables are added. The real challenge is adding more cost-effective energy storage.

    I think concentrated solar-thermal with storage is the best bet long-term, but LCOE needs to come down. Large-scale CST (up to 220 MW generators) with 15 to 18 storage networked with true national grid, with up to 50 year operating life, I think, is better than 10 year life batteries.

  68. I meant CST with 15 to 18 hours storage at maximum power output. Sorry, I missed out the word “hours”.

  69. For coal plants to be more responsive it just need batteries like wind and solar.
    And it can charge them any time, when the wind doesn’t blow and the Sun don’t shine.

    There are multiple reasons to prefer solar and wind over coal, base load or response to peak are two that are not.

  70. But Jumpy we want to cease coal burning right? So we need other solutions that are in fact available – such as solar heat stored as molten salt or solar-recharged pumped hydro, my favourite.

    The state LNP does not see that, they say they are going to build a flash new “clean coal” generator, ultra super-critical for around $2billion dollars and a life of 40 years. They are truly un-electable.
    Mind you, siding with Adani is not such a great idea either…

  71. All I’m saying is base load and peak response are not a minus for coal, that’s all Geoffs.
    It’s not a logistical problem.

    Sticking to the Climate Change argument has way more clout.

  72. Jumpy

    If you’ve got huge batteries, then you’re right: they need charging.

    But why would you use coal-burning to do the charging?

    Are you “fuel-neutral”?

  73. The horse has bolted Mr A and the Chinese, Indian and US gates are open.
    Brian has said many times, based on his extensive research, that 2 degrees is way to much.
    No chance to stop exceeding that.
    Australia has a poofteenth of bugger all chance of changing that.

  74. Mr J

    Do we take it from your comment at 7.25pm that you are satisfied with coal-burning as an electrical power source for the indefinite future in Australia too?

  75. No Mr A, I suspect Mr J seems to be stuck in his usual contrarian mode. Probably on auto pilot as he seemed to have missed Brians conclusion in the last paragraph of the OP. Either that or Mr J is responsible for the coal commercials on Brian’s blog

    Meanwhile, Bluescope chief Paul O’Malley calls for a 10-year energy transition plan. Jennifer Westcott, CO of Business Council of Australia, says “Business is despairing at Coalitions internal ructions on energy policy and it’s failure to agree on a Clean Energy Target”. These are hardly red socialists or Goat sacrifiying Greenies.

  76. GM:

    The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) assumes the duty factor for conventional coal-fired power stations is 85%.

    My guess is that 85% applies to baseload generators that the system wants to run most of the time. In Aus, and possibly China demand would not allow the average coal fired generator to run 85% of the time if capacity has to cover the peaks.
    Solar towers should be fitted with back-up molten salt heaters so that they can run at peak capacity 24/7 even if overcast weather lasts for yonks.
    Jumpy: You are quite right to say that coal fired performance can be improved by batteries or other forms of energy storage. Batteries can be charged when demand for coal fired power is low as well as providing rapid response peaking power when needed. This doesn’t mean that coal fired power makes sense these days, just that a power system with energy storage somewhere in the grid makes sense.

  77. John D,

    Solar towers should be fitted with back-up molten salt heaters so that they can run at peak capacity 24/7 even if overcast weather lasts for yonks.

    In Beyond Zero Emissions’ 2010 Stationary Energy Plan available to download here, in the Executive Summary on page xviii it states:

    With fully integrated molten salt heat storage,
    from which steam can be produced on demand, these plants
    provide 24-hour electricity production. Crop-waste biomass
    firing is used during extended periods of concurrent low
    solar and wind availability, as described below.

    The AEMO commissioned a study in response to the BZE report and basically confirmed 100% renewables for electricity generation is doable. UTS in 2016 has reconfirmed this. So what are we waiting for?

  78. Mr A

    Do we take it from your comment at 7.25pm that you are satisfied with coal-burning as an electrical power source for the indefinite future in Australia too?

    Me being satisfied doesn’t enter into it, Australia could go 100 % renewables yesterday and not make an ounce of difference to global warming in 6 months time leave alone by 2020 or 2050.

    If Government wants to help, have all the taxpayer funded scientists to redirect their funding away from studying the effects to developing the answer, that is the cheapest, safest most reliable energy sources.
    And let Capitalism do it’s magic with them.

  79. Mr J

    I reckon a whole lot of scientists, engineers, computer bods, financiers, plumbers, electricians…. are already onto it. We don’t have to wait and wait and wait for the best: amelioration can precede perfection.

    That’s the history of human shelter and energy use: steady improvement, sometimes in leaps and bounds.

    Join us.
    “Save the Goats!!”

  80. Australia could go 100 % renewables yesterday and not make an ounce of difference to global warming in 6 months time leave alone by 2020 or 2050.

    Jumpy, you are always saying stuff like that. It matters.

    Check out the List of countries by greenhouse emissions. Leaving aside the EU I think we come in 13th. However, countries with less than 2% of emissions make up about 44% of the whole.

    In terms per capita emissions, amongst OECD countries we are the champs. Do we want to continue being selfish, or show some leadership?

  81. “about 44% of the whole”……..

    What are you suggesting, Brian???

    Do you mean we’re somehow all in this together?

    Who woulda thought!!

  82. Brian

    Jumpy, you are always saying stuff like that.

    Because it’s true.
    If the Chinese,Indians, Americans and Indonesians take up baked beans and fart an extra couple time per day our sacrificing ourselves is futile.

  83. If the Chinese,Indians, Americans and Indonesians take up baked beans and fart an extra couple time per day our sacrificing ourselves is futile.

    And if the Chinese, Indians, Americans and Indonesians cut their carbon emissions by 90% would it make our contribution significant?
    Or would you then claim reducing our emissions was unnecessary?

  84. No wait!

    “… Climate Change, If It Is Happening, Is Doing More Good Than Harmy”

    is still to be expected from our Mr J.

  85. Speaker: “Sheep will pass to the left of the chair; goats to the right. I appoint the Member for Shearers the teller of the sheep, and the Member for Billies the teller of the goats.”

    and no-one, but no-one on the Opposition side will move that “the Member for Waringah be no longer heard”.

  86. Always with the nasty personal attracts Ootz, that’s why I generally ignore people like you.

    Zoot, if the Big players cut by 90% there’s it will be because the scientist we spend so much on worked on solutions instead of flapping about measuring the already measured.

  87. What are the goat and sheep references too ?
    I’m guessing the sheep stunt by Nick X has a roll but the goat thing I’m stumped.

    ( haven’t absorbed much media this week )

  88. ( haven’t absorbed much media this week )

    So Mr J, you are just shooting from the hip then?

    No wonder you have become a self styled pinata or rather a tragic figure like Abbott. It may pay for you to inform yourself on the latest coal gospel as per Tony.

    Goat luck to you Mr J 🙂

  89. Zoot, if the Big players cut by 90% there’s it will be because the scientist we spend so much on worked on solutions instead of flapping about measuring the already measured.

    I hate to disagree (no, really) but if the Big players cut by 90% it will be because their politicians start taking notice of the scientists who are doing the measuring.
    We already know how to cut emissions; what we have lacked is the political will to put those measures in place, due in no small part to a noisy group of people who have denied that global warming is happening – a stance I seem to remember you taking.
    It’s heartening to see you acknowledging AGW as a reality.

  90. Mr J at 6.39pm

    Goat and sheep reference?
    Have a look at Brian’s post about Mr Abbott finding his true voice….. Mr Abbott likened climate action to “primitive people killing goats to appease the volcano gods”

    Since then it’s been goats everywhere….. including the cartoon Brian drew our attention to, in the post Daring to Doubt:
    “Stop the Boats
    Save the Goats”

    you have to admit, that is pure poetry.

    No-one needs the commercial media when Brian helpfully supplies the main points.

    Then I was referring to ‘separating the sheep from the goats’.

    Yours Sincerely
    Mr A
    (no relation)

  91. Ahh, thanks Mr A.

    Err, no zoot, energy starving folk in India and China don’t give a shit about global warming, the just want the cheapest energy short term. Produce that and win.

    ( back to ignoring nasty ootz, so bigoted and spite filled his intolerance manifests in nothing but gutter level personal insults . Sad really. )

  92. Jumpy, there is plenty of measuring and modelling still to do. For example in understanding ice sheet decay. how that relates to major circulation patterns in the ocean and atmosphere. There are still known unknowns and even a lack of consensus.

    One of the points made by one of the scientists is that “the science is settled” meme was actually made up by the contrarians.

  93. … energy starving folk in India and China don’t give a shit about global warming, …

    With the greatest respect Jumpy, I don’t believe you’re in a position to speak for the energy starved folk of India or China.
    But I’m sure they’re used to rich white men telling them what they think.

  94. BilB

    Off on a tangent:

    If slowish cruise ships are popular, why not helium airships for cruising (not for cargo or busy travellers)?

    And the one that really appeals: sailing ships with strong hulls, GPS and stabilisers.

    Slow food; slow tourism, slow down and enjoy the voyage.

    Where’s all that leisure time the forecasters were promising several decades ago???

  95. Ootz

    We could turn this into a cottage industry, I reckon.

    “What is this goat almighty mess, Tones?”

    “Goat, is that the time? I really must dash!”

    “Where’s the leadership these days, eh? Goat only knows!”

    “Who’s being a Big Silly Billy then?”

    “Coming up next…. We road test the new Coal Powered Billy Cart…. and the Rural Fire Service truck that has to follow it everywhere it goes.”

    “And the clear winner of our online competition to name the new rescue boat for Lake Burley Griffin is …… wait for it …… (drum roll) ….. Mister Goaty McGoatface!!!
    News just in from Bali: Mount Agung has rejected our Appeasement policy.

    Krakatoa is silent.

    The caravan moves on; the goats nibble; human utterances are always stranger than fiction.

  96. For Goat sake Mr Ambi, do not joke about important arguments brought up by our leading politician and vervent adherents to alternative truths. The LNP has already franchised the cottage industry of farce to the detriment of good policy and government. For “Jobs and Goats” is their new campaign slogan.

    BTW anyone noticed that back in 2006 a certain Cardinal, who believes in the Virgin Birth and the Holy Ghost, and said his task is to “engage with reality”, used a similar line on Climate Change and pagan like false believes.

    “Environmentalism has managed to combine a post-socialist instinct for big government with a post-Christian nostalgia for making sacrifices in a good cause,”

    Bugger those Reds under the beds and goat sacrifiying Greenies, if they only would leave those goat fearing coal magnates alone.

  97. “Where’s all that leisure time the forecasters were promising several decades ago???”

    That is a damn good question, Ambi.

    Simple answer? It went a). in higher real estate prices and b). to the 1%.

    If you are talking about rooftop solar, half of that gain is going straight into the pockets of the power industry moguls. The blockchain item is interesting but I suspect that this is an attempt by industry moguls to kill off, of control, an innovation that is predominately to the advantage of the rooftop producer and remote consumers. Watch this space closely.

    On travel, I suspect that if you do the research surface travel is far more CO2 intensive than air travel per passenger mile. In Australia here we think of air travel as being international, but in Europe and the US most travel is interstate or between neighbouring countries (Europe). That is why there is a race on between Boeing and Airbus to develop short range electric hybrid commuter aircraft. This development once implemented will put pressure on shipping to do something serious about their emissions, and for them there is only one possible direction and that is nuclear electric propulsion.

  98. “The LNP has already franchised the cottage industry of farce to the detriment of good policy and government”

    That is a beautiful observation Ootz. So true.

    I have, burned into my brain, news images of Abbott and his rabid pack yelling and screaming like hyenas across the cebntral table at Gillard making a total mockery of parliament. I can’t see any of those individuals as being real human beings. Sadly half of them are now government ministers.

  99. GeoffH, I think Jumpy has always seen himself as something of a Paddock style ideological sniper, but he has only spuns (a highly contrived version of puns with spin) for ammunition rather than facts. In that way he sets himself apart, and a natural scapegoat for the monsters he chooses to champion.

  100. With apologies to real goats I can understand why the likes of Abbott are disturbed by the idea of sacrificing goats. It is a bit close and personal for him and his faction.

  101. JD thanks for respecting real goats.
    I think that Abbott has moved into a more manic phase. I suspect that his personality and life experiences are causing intense conflicts beyond his own management. His pugilistic style is well known but seems to have risen in intensity without a commensurate rise in targeting skills. In the vernacular we might say he has lost the plot. His blithering denial of climate change and disdain for science, coupled with his continuing ire at being dumped will hopefully be read as making him no longer worthy of parliament.

  102. Who do I champion BilB, what monsters ?
    And we’re gunna need proof to back up your accusations.
    Or keep being dishonest, whatever.

    Geoff H
    It’s quite natural for humans to single out a minority, it’s an insecurity thing.
    At other venues I’m labeled an agrarian socialist, a far left libertarian or which ever label gets the mobs blood pressure up.
    It’s only words and not meant for me at all.

  103. Terminology.

    “Agrarian Socialist” is/was applied to the Country Party, esp in Black Jack McEwen’s time. Apparently they had a name change. Mr J doesn’t resemble them, IMO. [No more humility from Mr A, no sirree!!]. Mr J, I fear your interlocutors are ill informed.

    Look, I wasn’t going to raise this somewhat delicate subject, but in some circles “goatish” refers to a Weinsteinian predilection for frequent massages, preferably administered by a beauteous person very much one’s junior.

    Hence phrases such as “the old goat, she’s less than half his age!”

    “No fool like an old fool”

    “No goat like an old goat” etc.

    Sacrificing some of these very senior humans is about to become a widely publicised practice. I have in mind Mr Cosby, Mr Wiener, Mr Weinstein, and a man who ran for political office in 2016.

    Sadly, Mr Hefner has just missed the boat. Mr Harris in Britain was but a prelude.

    Expect more Goat News as the weeks and months unfold.

  104. Jumpy I’ve said this of you many times. You were championing Trump the other day,…or was it Abbott? I mix them up , they are so alike. Otherwise it is monsters of the Id, your zombie economics.

  105. Colonel zoot at 10.41pm

    Listen here, old bean, are you suggesting that all the Vice Roys of India since that fine young Mountbatten fellow have been figments of my imagination? That one of the big pink bits on my globe is no longer pink? I never needed to learn the local lingo when I was out there, had a Language Wallah for that kind of carry-on, but they seemed decent enough, the young Indian servants and clerks. Ran the Golf Club pretty well, though old Bingo and Freddy had to keep a pretty close eye on the curry funds, eh?

    Anyway, if what you seem to be hinting at is at all likely, I’ll need to get in touch with cousin Algernon. He’s still out in Peiping or Saigon, looking into some handy pepper and quill enterprises.

    By Jove, quite opens new horizons, your missive.

    Thank you, Nurse.
    A bit less tonic in the next one, eh?
    Bit more gin.
    I’ll say……



  106. Jumpy I’ve said this of you many times. You were championing Trump the other day,…or was it Abbott?

    E…Vid…Ence or your pants self combust.
    You’re deluded old bean, many times.

  107. So….nothing comes to mind ?
    Carefull, Jumpyphilia is a risk 🙂

    On topic though, if renewables are cheaper, more reliable and more easily accessible than FFs, the problem is solved.
    Let’s all aim for that.

  108. As Brian astutely observed, Abbott jumped the shark with his goat crusade. From hence it’s peak Abbott and his jihad, or is it crusade, against renewables has lost any shred of credibility. Hence anyone shouting his gospels and sharing his contorted views, all of these fervent jihadist against renewable energy, have by default lost their trousers too. The Mr Js of this world have been exposed as the deluded ideologues, shouting the gospel according to Abbott and Murdoch. Their reality is not the threat of climate change, but that of the hordes of heretic scientists and the pagan majority of rational thinking public. Forever using more contorted arguments and delaying tactics, even to the detriment of their own economic benefit. Blind believe, which can’t be rationally substantiated or debated. Such is the state of their arguments, hanging on with the skin of their teeth to anything but sensible amelioration of the real risk of CO2 pollution. In essence, Jumpy knows better than the goat molesting chief scientist of this nation!

    Mate pull your trousers up and perhaps start wearing underpants you are a shocking sight like that 😮

  109. Maj General Wilby at 2:10pm.
    Had to discipline my batman this morning; made some nonsensical remark about white men being the main burden.
    He’s currently on his way back to Blighty.

  110. Jumpy you are getting some pretty plain messages here. They are upheld by real science.
    For your part, if i remember correctly, that becoming a grandparent is neigh. It really is time to consider, at a family level, just where too much CO2 is taking us.Is that so hard? What if climate science is wrong? whoops, life goes on and there are lots of red faces. What if the science is right, and our overpaid “leaders” get their part wrong? The world ahead suffers immensely. Try to see the risk Jumpy and ask why you don’t take the safer option, even if you are not totally convinced.

  111. Geoff
    Relax, Humanity will technology it’s way forward, as always.
    If not we can partially blame the miss focused scientists and entrepreneurs.
    Either way self flagellation achieves SFA.
    And flogging other achieves less.

  112. I think the main roadblock is the ‘ demand leads production always ” ideology. Where as production really invents new demand.
    We lost the production of concrete for 500 years even though the demand was still there.
    Build it and they will come.

  113. Jumpy, your comment at 4:35 pm seems to be saying that even though there was a continuing demand for concrete, the invisible hand of the market decided to stop producing it. Can you suggest why this might be so?
    It seems to make a mockery of the idea that free markets are the way to ensure everybody’s needs are met.

  114. Government stupidity ring any bells zoot ?
    But keep making them more powerful, when has that ever gone bad for the common folk ?

  115. Colonel zoot at 3.38pm

    Jolly good think you jumped on that quick smart. If a batman’s been affected by the sun, pack him off home I always used to say. Nonsensical talk is usually the first sign.

    Why, an uncle of mine worked with a rum chap by the name of Eric Blair in Burma years ago. Used to mutter dark thoughts in his sleep. Sent home. Never heard of again. Good show.

  116. Mr J

    Relax, Humanity will technology its way forward, as always.

    If not we can partially blame the miss focused scientists and entrepreneurs.

    I offer an anecdote: Mr J and a random group are riding on a bus high up on a hill. The majority want to follow a gentle, fairly straight, sealed road along the main ridge line, on their way down to the destination. Mr J stops the bus and suggests instead, driving down a very steep, nay precipitous, narrow gravel road. The turnoff for that is just up ahead.

    The driver and other passengers urge caution and prefer the gentler slope. The driver advises the brakes might not hold on the steep road.

    Mr J says, “No, let’s hurtle down the gravel road. We can always get our fellow passengers Mr S the scientist or Mr E the entrepreneur to come up with new brakes or some other super-duper gizmo. We’ll just technology our way along, as always. No need to worry.

    And if the worst happens, we can just blame Mr S and Mr E here, or aim for that dirty big heap of unsold Roman Empire concrete I see down there near the Tiber.”

    Mr A

  117. Government stupidity ring any bells zoot ?

    Jumpy, which government would that be?
    As an aside, I don’t think you are familiar enough with the history of concrete to be making these assertions. Please prove me wrong.

  118. Not quite the big picture I’m thinking of Mr A.
    Curious to know why you chose down rather than up the hill for you anecdote, psychologically.
    Glass half empty ?

  119. “Relax, Humanity will technology it’s way forward, as always.”
    Perhaps Jumpy you had not considered that our rampant use of “technology” has brought us to the CO2 position we now find ourselves in.
    Jumpy I don’t always agree with you but are glad you have the ability to shamelessly take a different view. But to think that technology will always be there to help us recover is just wrong. That’s why tipping points are so important, they represent points where we lose the option of “fixing” things.
    You have managed to lower the bar a bit too much this time Jumpy.

  120. Why tell the story that way?
    Sense of danger, Mr J.
    Choice of two paths; yes, simplistic and dichotomous.
    Running out of time, Mr J

    But mostly, the sense I read in your comment that, even if we stumble into disaster, at least there will be scapegoats we’ll be able to “partially” blame.


    After Mount Tarawera erupted in 19th century NZ, some Maoris who had been warned by their resident spiritual adviser of imminent danger……. decided to kill him.

    21st century people should be better than that, Mr J.
    Heed the warnings, make plans, look for practical remedies and carry them out before it’s too late or too difficult.

    Geoff Henderson put it well: if the current understanding proves erroneous, lots of red faces but no social and ecological upheaval.

  121. I’ll try again.

    Currently Mount Agung on Bali looks as if it might erupt.
    Vulcanologists are monitoring and measuring the tremors and steam, inferring magma is rising.

    Thousands of villagers have been evacuated. A 12km exclusion zone has been declared. All this is inconvenient and very expensive.

    But it’s prudent, may save hundreds of lives, and based on scientific understandings.

    I don’t know whether Mount Agung will erupt explosively, or in a fizzer with pyroclastic flows. Or not at all. Possibly you don’t know either, Mr J.

    But doesn’t it make sense to take precautions now, within current technological means, rather than sit around hoping nothing bad will happen and surmising that we will surely be able to just blame someone else if deaths and injuries should occur?

  122. Two former chief scientists Ian Chubb and Penny Sackett with Emma Alberici.

    EMMA ALBERICI: I’m keen for both your views on the Clean Energy Target. It looks like the Government is backing away from a commitment to enforce one.

    What is your view on how necessary such a target might be, Ian Chubb?

    IAN CHUBB: Well, my successor is very actively and continuing to pursue that notion that it will be a major contribution.

    EMMA ALBERICI: This is Alan Finkel?

    IAN CHUBB: Alan Finkel, I would bow to his superior knowledge on that particular matter.

    I would also say of course that there are a large number of people, and I would be one of them, that would say that we have to keep our, the global temperature increase to the bottom end of the Paris range if not below.

    I chair a committee for the Government to do with the Barrier Reef and it’s pretty clear that even if we got up to 1.5 degrees the bottom end of that Paris range, we would still have serious problems with sensitive parts of the planet like the Barrier Reef, like the reefs of the world, indeed.

    So I believe that we have to take suitable action, appropriate action, wise action, action that’s based on the evidence that’s available to us, to keep our emissions low, for Clean Energy Target contributes to that in a sensible, economic, rational way, then I’m all for it.

    I’m not or a process that eliminates things simply because it is going to win votes and I see plenty of reports today talking about who, if we don’t have a Clean Energy Target, it will help one party or another with votes at a coming election. So that’s statesmanship, that’s good for us, it is good for Australia, it is good for Australians, it is good for the planet. I don’t think so.

    EMMA ALBERICI: Penny Sackett, do we need a Clean Energy Target if the price of renewables continues to come down as exponentially as it has?

    PENNY SACKETT: Well, I won’t go to the details of any current detailed policy analysis. That’s not my forte.

    But what I can say is that one of the reasons we haven’t seen the kind of investment that we should be seeing in Australia is because of the lack of policy certainty and the lack of politicians working together to give us a coherent energy plan.

    Now, we know that renewables are the way of the future not only because of climate change, but because, as you said, the prices are coming down.

    The world is moving – unfortunately at this moment Australia is behind that trend.

    So, you know, I visited the United States in very middle state of Iowa, 40 per cent of their energy in the first half of this year was generated by wind. So that’s just one example.

    The world is moving ahead and what we need is solid policy agreement so that investment can be made and Australia’s not left behind.

    That is two previous Chief scientists and not some jumped up goat herder with his trousers down, spruiking the gospel of coal according to Tony on lefty blog sites.

  123. I chair a committee for the Government to do with the Barrier Reef and it’s pretty clear that even if we got up to 1.5 degrees the bottom end of that Paris range, we would still have serious problems with sensitive parts of the planet like the Barrier Reef, like the reefs of the world, indeed.

    We’ve been warned repeatedly and no-one seems to be taking this seriously.

    Gerard Henderson on Insiders today said Tony Abbott didn’t say much that George Pell didn’t say, and anyway Ian Plimer has said this stuff before.

    True, Gerard, but don’t you see, that is part of the problem.

  124. Ian Chubb’s response should have been something along the lines of:

    “Why are we talking about this as if there is a choice to have a target or not have a target.

    The fact is that any action being proposed by Australian governments is ridiculously in adequate. Australia has foot dragged, dithered, obfuscated, forestalled, argued down, delayed, reduced, and is now trying to walk away from its commitments on climate action.

    The question should be: along with retaining the CET what else can we be doing. How aggressively can we move to de-carbonise our economy? What are the benefits and by how much will these benefits improve the standard of living for all Australians?

    Emma you are asking all of the wrong questions. Do you really understand what is at stake from the accelerating atmospheric CO2 level? Do you have any appreciation of how destructive the coming climate changes will be if the world fails to address this challenge? What research have you been doing on this subject and from what sources?”

    Ex chief scientist Ian Chubb might then have moved on to talk more about the Reef:

    “….Not only are we concerned about the reef, we are concerned about the changes to the whole coastal environment. Global Warming is driving tropical marine species steadily further south with undesirable and unpredictable consequences. For instance the irukandji jelly fish appear to be moving south and establishing new nesting sites, and this will be a disaster for Australia’s famous beaches and tourism in general.

    Yes we should be acting aggressively on Global Warming and Climate change. The consequences of not acting are too horrible to contemplate. Emma, I’ll leave with this link to research for you to formulate new and different questions for our next meeting.”

  125. Brian, you made a comment somewhere speculating that the future of the Barrier Reef will certainly impacted by ocean acidification and sea level rise.

    Should these changes consolidate the likely outcome is that the coral heads will wear down and silt over changing the colour of the reef to where it will absorb more heat. When the level of water over the reef increases this deeper warm water will serve to more strongly feed cyclones as they crash into the Queensland Coast line with devastating consequences for coastal communities. In my opinion that is the most likely sequence if future events because the sea level rise is unlikely to occur soon enough to cool the reef wit the deeper water.

  126. Just to let people know, I’m working on a post on Queensland’s power plans at present, which include several exciting developments on demand management. I was near the end last night when a whole vista opened up.

    It has been raining here over the last few days, and this morning we had Rod Sims telling us that the prices had gone up because of gold-plating while all around SEQ there were homes without power because of the bad weather. It wasn’t all that bad, just a lot of rain and a bit of wind in places.

    We are going to see the movie Blade Runner 2049 taday, having watched the DVD of the Directors Cut of the original Blade Runner on the weekend. If you saw the theatre release version and haven’t seen the Directors Cut, it’s worth getting hold of. It’s quite dystopian but has better integrity.

    Result is, post may not be finished until tonight.

  127. BilB, on the reef, I think bleaching is the front line, and I suspect that within the next 10 years it will all become very obvious.

  128. I am sorry Brian but I think that the CET is just another in a line of alleged “must haves” that have turned out to have been more of a political distraction than effective tools for driving down emissions.
    The CET won’t provide investor confidence because no intelligent investor will have any confidence that a long term target wont be stuffed around by future changes of government or a new fad.
    What will drive long term business investment in renewables is the the confidence given by long term contracts for the provision of available capacity with realistic additional payments for being at various levels of standby and kWh actually produced.
    Contracts provide the certainty that neither the RET, the carbon price or the surge in electricity price can give. Contract certainty also means that the bids will be very competitive and thus help drive down power prices.
    (Some of the current batch of investment in renewables is being driven people or businesses being driven by ideology or a desire for lower cost and/or more reliable power. )
    We also need shorter term extension contracts aimed at keeping the power producers (and storers) we want to keep going going and to give power producers the confidence to do major maintenance.
    The key thing we need to know from each political is how much new renewable power contracts they will set up per year while they are in power. The lesson from the last 10 yrs is that a government cannot tie down what future governments will be forced to do.

  129. I understand your position on the reef issue and concur, Brian.

    The fanfare sound is spelt tadarrr! rather than taday. joke.

    How was the Blade Runner?

  130. As a counter to Jumpy @ October 9, 4:43 pm I offer this.
    Sample quote re coal fire power plants:

    Even though there are more power plants, the actual production of electricity from those plants – and likewise the amount of coal used worldwide – has fallen every year since 2013, with a small drop in 2014 and larger drops in 2015 and 2016.

  131. zoot,

    Nice reference from a mainstream media outlet, but it has been a long time coming. Tim Buckley representing IEEFA at the Australian Senate inquiry into the retirement of coal-fired power stations, at the Sydney public hearing on 22 February 2017, was making the similar points.

    From BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2017, on page 40:

    World coal production fell by 6.2%, or 231 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mtoe) in 2016, the largest decline on record. China’s production fell by 7.9% or 140 mtoe – also a record decline – while US production fell by 19% or 85 mtoe. Global coal consumption fell by 1.7%, the second successive decline. The largest decreases were seen in the US (-33 mtoe, an 8.8% fall), China (-26 mtoe, -1.6%) and the United Kingdom (-12 mtoe, -52.5%).

    But why let these inconvenient facts get in the way of the coal boosters’ message that “coal is good for humanity”?

    Here’s a question to think about: How much coal does NSW have left? According to a NSW Government flyer:

    NSW has more than 15 billion tonnes of recoverable coal reserves contained within 40 operating mines and colliery holdings, and over 20 major development proposals.

    NSW produced 246.8 Mt of raw coal yielding 191 Mt
    of saleable coal worth nearly $14.6 billion coal in

    With an extraction rate maintained at 246.8 Mt per year, NSW’s 15 GT coal reserves would be depleted in just over 6 decades.

    Then think about where significant proportions of these NSW coal reserves reside. Most of NSW coal is situated in the Hunter, Gunnedah, and Western Basins. Where are NSW “prime agricultural lands”, and critical water resources? In the same places. So, do we wish to dig up “prime agricultural lands” and compromise NSW water resources just for a few extra decades of coal? I think not. And if the majority of the people of NSW think not, then NSW doesn’t have 6 decades of coal remaining at current rate of extraction (FY15-16) – probably significantly less than 4 decades – and if that’s the case there’s no justification to build new coal-fired power stations in NSW because the coal supply is constrained.

  132. I said about 70, that said 74.
    What counter ?

    It was a counter to your implicit argument that coal has a future as fuel for electricity generation, an argument you were apparently making in response to Geoff Miell’s comment further upstream.
    If that was not your intention what was the point of your comment? You don’t make a habit of dropping meaningless random statistics into these threads (or have I missed something?).

  133. There is no doubt new coal power stations are more efficient and use less coal zoot.
    When do you think coal will cease to be used for electricity on Earth ?
    And on that date will the Earths temperature flatline, reduce or keep rising?

  134. Geoff M
    I don’t know why you bang on about supply issues.
    If we can rail it 300 kms then ship it 1000s of km we can supply easily into a next door State.

    There are far more cogent arguments worth your dedication and effort .
    Seriously, I enjoy your work but I feel it’s wasted to a large degree.

  135. Jumpy, still waiting for your concise history of the government stupidity which denied concrete to the hordes demanding it circa 500 CE.
    What as the term you used? Oh yes – E…Vid…Ence

  136. Roman governance self imploded, google it Champ.
    Now, do us a favour and answer my questions for a change.

  137. When do you think coal will cease to be used for electricity on Earth ?

    For the sake of my descendants, pretty bloody soon I hope.

    And on that date will the Earths temperature flatline, reduce or keep rising?

    The planet will continue to heat up. It’s called the greenhouse effect and we’ve known about it since the latter part of the nineteenth century.
    Anything else I can do for you?
    Tie your shoelaces?
    Wipe your nose?
    Answer some more stupid questions?

    Get back under your bridge.

  138. So, co2 drives temp.
    There is a lag.
    We are over 400ppm co2.
    None of that you would disagree with I’m guessing.

    When was the last time we had over 400ppm co2 ?
    Feel free to go back as far as you need.

    ( and no need for nasty pettiness Bud, just a quid pro quo conversation between 2 Dudes that have a lot to learn )

  139. When was the last time we had over 400ppm co2 ?

    Go here:

    A 2009 study in the journal Science found the last time in Earth’s history when CO2 levels in the atmosphere were this high for a sustained period was between 15 and 20 million years ago.

    Then, according to the study, temperatures were between 3C and 6C warmer than today. Ice sheets, the study said, had melted to the point where sea levels rose between 25 and 40 metres.

    I think that’s roughly right, but as the article says we are pushing the climate harder than it’s ever been pushed before, so we are in new territory.

  140. Jumpy, your link makes no mention of concrete or how, even though there was continuing demand for it, government stupidity ensured it ceased production.
    This was the essence of your risible comment (obviously pulled from one of your more obscure orifices) with which I took issue.
    FYI I am already acquainted with the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, having two close associates who are experts in the field.

    Now sod off.

  141. Yes there is a lag. Heating the ocean causes about a fifty year delay I read. Once that background heat is in the ocean extra heat reacts rapidly with the atmosphere in the way we are seeing in the Atlantic this year, and generally around the tropics.

    What is the Atlantic hurricane season going to be like with another 50 years of accumulated heat, exacerbated by Australia’s failure to do its 2 per cents worth?

  142. John,

    Your comment about contracts is pertinent.

    I fear your doubts about a putative CET are well founded. When Mr Finkel raised it, Opposition spokesman Butler, interviewed on radio, said he favoured a CET and Labor would set about enquiring whether it should be raised, when they attained govt.

    Mr Finkel shot back immediately: no, the whole point is, it has to be fixed for years and years. It is a device to confer certainty.

    Now back to contracts.
    Today’s papers suggest that our Coalition govt is going to try to use contracts…… wait for it….. wait for it….. to guarantee the use of Coal, Gas or Hydro as a percentage of power purchased by power companies.

    Guaranteed “reliable power”.

    Contracts, but not, I suspect, what you had in mind John.

    <sarc This might be termed a DET, or Dirty Energy Target.

    Electricity market forces plus Govt intervention, used to correct an obvious market failure…. not enough coal being envisioned in our electricity future.</sarc

    I give up!
    The Goat Herders are in charge.
    "Nimble and agile" this is not.

  143. zootus maximus

    vii. xxxix. post meridianum

    Ceterum autem censeo Carthaginem esse delendam

    ~ Cato the Elder

    (and didn’t that turn out just fine and dandy for the people of Carthage?)

  144. Jumpy (re your comment: OCTOBER 16, 2017 AT 6:48 PM):

    Geoff M
    I don’t know why you bang on about supply issues.
    If we can rail it 300 kms then ship it 1000s of km we can supply easily into a next door State.

    On 11 May 2017, I made a presentation to the NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) at a public hearing concerning the Bylong Coal Project. My PowerPoint Slides and Script can be seen if you scroll down the page under the heading Submissions and Presentations. I was registered as speaker #23.

    At slide #7, I state:

    Scarce, unaffordable, disrupted petroleum-based fuel
    supplies are likely to result in the Bylong Coal Project
    becoming non-viable and a “stranded asset”.

    Then have a look at Slides #14 & #15.

    After the PAC public hearing the Bylong proponent’s agent produced a document in response to the negative issues presented at the public hearing. You can find this document under the heading Additional Information From The Applicant with the file name 170519 Bylong PAC Public Hearing Response (2).

    This document is quite detailed and in Section 4 it responds to the negative issues raised at the public hearing, stating:

    Out of the 44 presentations provided during the public hearing, 31 were in support of the Project, generally due to the creation of job and opportunities for the MWRC LGA and, more particularly, the local community. This Response does not provide a response to these supporting presentations.

    Three of the presentations were either not related to the Project or provided comment on how to improve the enforceability of compliance. Ten presentations were in objection to the Project and raised various concerns.

    There are quite detailed responses to 11 presentations, but mine was not among them. Why? I speculate the issues I raised were far too inconvenient for the proponent , they had no compelling counter-arguments, and they did not wish to provide any further attention to my issues so it was ignored entirely.

    So, Jumpy, how is coal going to be transported in a situation where the global supply of petroleum fuel is likely to be in a sustained decline? Do you have compelling evidence that this won’t happen in the near future? No one so far is willing to provide compelling evidence – only wishful thinking, or silence! I’d like the evidence I see to be wrong, but wishing doesn’t make it so.

  145. Geoff M, thanks for that.
    I only recently visited my middle Son in Newcastle.
    He’s doing marine engineering so we visited the Port among other things and honestly didn’t notice the rail wasn’t electric like it is here.
    So yes, that is a valid hurdle.

  146. John, in reponse to your comment on the CET and contracts, I think the value of the CET, set where Finkel modelled it, would have been that it would have been clear to everyone that new coal was unacceptable, even if funded by the government.

    Finkel chose the CET as a scheme that had a chance of support by both the LNP and ON rednecks outliers, and the Labor Party.

    Labor came on board, but not the problematic LNP group.

    Now we have a new National Energy Guarantee to deliver more affordable and reliable electricity while meeting our international commitments. It’s under the banner of affordability and reliability.

    It appears to be a gift of the experts at the Energy Security Board, which was no doubt the best they could offer to solve Turnbull’s internal political problem.

    I can’t find links yet but on our ABC it’s clear that they’ve lost Labor support, so it may depend on the crossbench. I’m sure Xenophon is good for one last deal if he’s still there.

    Problem is that these experts don’t work for Turnbull, they work for COAG, so it will be interesting to see how the states line up. The National Energy Guarantee cements in the 26% by 2030 target, which the states have found inadequate.

  147. Jumpy (Re your comment: October 17, 2017 at 12:23 pm)

    So yes, that is a valid hurdle.

    That’s OK. It’s a very big hurdle that I think few people are aware of. I trust you are now more aware of this issue.

    This morning I filled the tank of my car with fuel. My driving life experience is that (apart from a few fuel strikes, which settle themselves out in a few days to weeks, and these have all been due to politics between fuel unions/workers and bosses/governments, or geopolitics) the fuel is usually available. We may whinge about the price of fuel, but it’s nearly always available, and for nearly everyone, it would be impossible to go about their business if the supply stopped or was substantially constrained. The evidence I see indicates that this easy abundance may not continue for much longer.

    In July, the French and UK governments announced a new policy to ban the sale of new cars (and vans) that use petrol or diesel fuel from 2040. The stated objective is to reduce pollution and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I speculate that an unstated objective is to substantially reduce petroleum fuel dependency, but the governments don’t want to say this because they don’t want to draw attention to it and potentially frighten/panic the people.

    I recommend you take a look at a video of a presentation given by Dr Robert Hirsch (a senior energy advisor to some past US Presidents) on 7 November 2012, that explains what ‘peak oil’ is, what the risks are for our society, the likely timing, and what can be done to mitigate its consequences:

  148. When you start to talk about peaking things, I’ve been running a thought train along the what if lines of Sydney taking KJU hit and what would suddenly stop working or instantly become unavailable. It is a good exercise considering that a number of countries in the Caribbean have just been decimated by cold nuclear bombs (effectively), and in light of that, thinking through what a few months of basic supplies look like becomes an advisable project, I believe. Now the rooftop panels a Tesla Powerwall and solar water heating make good sense, and not that expensive either. These are all just basics for yachties of course, my other passion hence interest.

    So in light of your limited fuel argument the move to all electric and renewables is a good medium term strategy.

  149. BilB,

    Now the rooftop panels a Tesla Powerwall and solar water heating make good sense, and not that expensive either.

    That can make your electricity needs more self sufficient, for awhile, but what are you going to do long-term if these things need fixing?
    What about your food/water needs? Are you self sufficient for adequate food and water supplies?
    Medical? Pharmaceuticals?
    Transport? How are you going to get about, or are you going to stay put?

    You may be prepared, but what about the people around you?

    Once you start looking at how we live, you come to realise how inter-dependent our society is currently configured, and how fragile our energy systems are to disruptions (eg. South Australia’s state-wide “black event” last year, and the events you mentioned in the Caribbean).

    It’s good you are thinking about it. More people need to be thinking about it, and asking our leaders whether they are thinking about it, and more importantly doing something effective about it.

    At least the French & UK governments are planning for the long-term. But what are Australia’s federal and state/territory governments doing about it?

  150. The Conversation was positive about the government’s energy scheme. They commented that:

    It should also be reasonably cost-effective. Rather than the government imposing quotas or limits for various types of technology, retailers will be given a free hand to pick the cheapest mix of generation that will meet their emissions obligations. It is genuinely technology-neutral.
    This makes the Emissions Guarantee superior to Finkel’s Clean Energy Target. The CET would have acted as a mechanism to push clean energy technologies into the system, but it would not have cared which generators left the market as a consequence.

    I would want to see more details before saying too much.
    Given that I think the retailers are more part of the problem than the solution I can’t get enthusiastic about the more central and powerful role of the retailers.
    I also think that any good system needs to be based on the certainty long term contracts for capacity brings to investors. We certainly don’t need a system where generators face constant uncertainty about their future.

  151. John, the piece at the Conversation is from the bloke at the Grattan Institute. I think the problem with him and some other commentators are that they seem relaxed about the lowball aim of a 26% reduction by 2030.

  152. Brian, Sean Kelly has a good article on it in The Monthly, it looks like transport and industry getting targeted by the coal mafia to make a grater contribution to emission reduction.

    One of Turnbull’s big claims is that he is ending subsidies to renewables. But as the Guardian’s environment reporter, Michael Slezak, put it, “What Turnbull is describing is very clearly two new subsidies – one for low emissions generation, and one for dispatchable generation.” That’s because if a government forces companies to buy from a particular area, they are propping up that area. If they didn’t do so, the companies would just buy the cheapest thing they could. So it’s a subsidy whether you want to call it that or not.

    The second major issue is that the policy doesn’t ask the electricity sector to do as much of the work in cutting emissions as you might expect. The reason that matters is that other areas – transport, industry – are presumably going to have to pick up the slack. Frydenberg was asked directly about this today. His answer was poor: let’s leave that for another press conference and focus on the good news, he said. But the concerns raised are a direct result of the policy he announced today. That really wasn’t good enough.

    The question Frydenberg refused to answer also leaves open the possibility – I’d guess probability – that Australia will not meet its Paris commitments on reducing emissions. Again, there is a difference between declaring it will happen and actually making it happen.

  153. Thanks, Ootz. I ration my ventures to The Monthly, because I don’t have a sub. Sean Kelly is good value.

  154. GeoffM,

    I covered quite a few of the full spread in my mind map and yes it got complicated very quickly.

    You comment makes it imperative to do a second map looking at alternatives to as many items as possible.

    There is a secondary value for doing this exercise and that is to learn to revalue that inter dependence that you refer to.

  155. Brian (re your comment: October 17, 2017 at 9:42 pm):

    …the piece at the Conversation is from the bloke at the Grattan Institute. I think the problem with him and some other commentators are that they seem relaxed about the lowball aim of a 26% reduction by 2030.

    I agree. More climate scientists and now engineers are getting more vocal about how dangerous the situation is becoming.

    In Ian Dunlop’s Engineers Australia Big Conversation presentation referred in my comment, beginning at time interval 0:44:13, he says:

    So, let’s take climate change first then, and I’ll come on to the energy, if we have time. My view on this is that it’s happening far faster and more extensively than anticipated, and certainly far faster than we are acknowledging officially, in the negotiations that have been going on around the world for the last 30 odd years. And indeed, faster than many scientists have been prepared to acknowledge. There is an issue of scientific reticence where people are concerned not to make statements they really can’t back up – which is understandable because this is pretty critical stuff – I mean it’s going to fundamentally change the way we live, and therefore you need to be fairly sure of your facts. The problem is that the risk implications of this are not things that are waiting for scientific certainty. You are actually going to have to take a view of what risks we’re exposed to, and at what point we really need to do something about it.

    Insurance companies are waking up to the risk implications, but most of our politicians and commentators are still in denial.

    Brian, are you still intending to do a post on Ian Dunlop?

  156. It seems there are three really big elements of Turnbull’s new plan.

    The first is that there is little need to build new capacity before about 2025, when batteries and storage will be cheaper than Coal and gas. With projects in the pipeline we are at 95% of our 23.5% RET by 2020. Getting to 26% by 2030 should be a doddle. Turnbull is talking about ‘backending’ our effort. The pathetic inadequacy of 26% is part of the problem.

    Secondly, new power of any sort will need to be fully ‘dispatchable’ which most around the world say is not necessary. There will be a forward bidding process, so generators will have to promise the day before that the power will be available.

    Third, generators will not be doing the bidding. This will be done by retailers. David Blowers from the Grattan Institute says:

    Under the Emissions Guarantee, retailers will be required to buy or generate electricity with a set level of emissions intensity – the tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted per megawatt hour – each year. The allowable level of emissions intensity will be reduced each year, to stay in line with Australia’s Paris climate target.

    To meet this obligation, retailers will probably build or purchase their own generation assets, or sign contracts with other generators. Over time, retailers’ portfolios will become cleaner and cleaner, as new low-emission generators are built and more high-emission generators are shut off. (Emphasis added)

    This seems to call for a restructuring of the entire industry, with vertical integration between retail and generation.

    This is like throwing a grenade into the whole system.

    Seems it was the brainchild of John Pierce, head of the Australian Energy Commission, who has been thinking about it for years. It was communicates in an 8-page letter from the Energy Security Commission boss woman, without any modelling of its effects or detail about how the regulations and law would have to be changed. It seems also an idea the Grattan Institute likes.

    Pierce is an ex-treasury official. He hasn’t actually run anything in his background.

  157. Geoff M, I’ve just seen your last comment.

    On Ian Dunlop, the answer is yes. I’ve been trying to get to a post Climate as an existential threat and another on whether 1.5 degrees is at all possible, but keep being diverted by tomfoolery.

    Have to work today now the rain has eased.

  158. Brian: The Conversation commented that the proposed system could be adopted by an incoming government to change the rate at which the shift to renewables proceeds and some of the settings.
    I have got concerns about setting retailer requirements for things like dispatchability or requirements for predicting out put for the next day since they can become code for discriminating against wind and solar in favour of solar towers and fossil power. (Somehow I keep smelling the smell of rat in these proposals.) In addition, moves to increase the % of controlled power in the mix and the nature of the forms of controlled power in the mix will effect the the need for storage, dispatchabilty and predictability.
    I am also getting more and more appalled by the central role to be given to retailers. I believe it would make more sense for the retailing role to be taken back by the states (or combination of states) and that this role should include ensuring that the future capacity required to meet states politically acceptable reliability targets. (I have an open mind re who owns and operates this capacity.)

  159. I share the concerns about the retailers control. Their duty does not place the interests of consumers at the top of the priority list. Yet the retailers can only exist because of publicly owned assets.

    And it is too consistent with the neoliberal model at a time when a step (or two) away from that paradigm is overdue. I sense the is a game plan being worked out behind the scenes that will keep the incumbents happy and we peasants as mushrooms.

  160. Grattan says the saving figures are a bit rubbery. When you are talking about a saving as low as $115 per yr it would be anyone’s guess whether there would be any saving at all, particularly given all the artificial (and questionable) restraints the government wants to put on the use of renewables.
    Grattan and business also want bipartisanship. My take here is that any system that depends on bipartisanship is likely to fail given recent history.
    What we really need is a system that does not depend on bipartisanship to work. The RET and carbon tax failed because investors needed certainty that went beyond the life of the governments that introduced them. This is why I think that schemes that give investors the protection of contracts are desirable.

  161. John Davidson,

    I have got concerns about setting retailer requirements for things like dispatchability or requirements for predicting out put for the next day since they can become code for discriminating against wind and solar in favour of solar towers and fossil power.

    I think this is being done because the federal government is paranoid that another regional “system black” event may happen, and if it does happen again, and it’s possible it could occur this summer if there are widespread heatwaves, this will reflect badly on the incumbency at the next federal election.

    The retailers have to answer to shareholders and investors, and compete in the market place. Existing coal generation will be retired one-by-one as each power station reaches its use-by date, so coal-fired power at short run marginal cost of about $20/MWh or less will nearly all be disappearing within 2 decades, and some big ones within a decade – Liddell, Vales Point, Yallourn W, and Gladstone.

    According to Dr Finkel’s recent Independent Review to COAG (in Appendix A1) the average LCOE in 2020 for new supercritical coal-fired generation is $76/MWh, and for new ultra-supercritical coal-fired generation is $81/MWh. New coal-fired generation is at least 5 years away – too late to replace Liddell. And then there’s a potential long-term coal supply problem for NSW I referred to above. New wind and solar costs continue to fall (Finkel has publicly said the figures in his report for these are already out of date), but there’s the intermittency issue. Investors, if they are astute, should see new coal-fired generation as too risky long-term, gas is becoming too expensive and there’s a gas supply issue, and they won’t invest unless governments heavily subsidise them.

    I see that solar-thermal with storage is likely to be the wild card in Australia’s electricity generation mix, with the potential for dispatchable power 24/7 with zero emissions. South Australia’s project Aurora, for 150 MW CST generation with 8 hours storage at maximum output, contracted out at a reported $78/MWh, if it proves successful from 2020, will likely kybosh any proposals for new coal and gas generation in Australia. But BZE had already outlined this in its affordable Stationary Energy Plan in 2010. Perhaps energy investors will wake up to this.

    Malcolm Turnbull appears to have changed his tune substantially since his address at the launch of BZE’s Stationary Energy Plan on 12 August 2010:

  162. John, in relation to rubbery figures, Frydenberg said that modelling made astrology look good – a quote of someone or other.

    He went on to say you could get anything you wanted out of modelling by changing the parameters and inputs.

    Not confidence inspiring!

  163. Brian,

    The Energy Security Board’s advice in conclusion includes:

    In 2030 it is expected that the power mix of different types of generation would be in the order of 28-36% renewables (including hydro and solar pv); intermittent renewables would make up about 18-24% with dispatchable resources providing the remainder. The expected mix will also be analysed by the AEMC as part of the detailed modelling requested by the Commonwealth.

    But as Ian Dunlop explains in his Engineers Australia Big Conversation, referred to here, on risk and carbon budgets through to a discussion on what risks we are prepared to accept, from about time interval 1:13:44 to about 1:19:37, Ian Dunlop quotes the then Chief Economist of the IEA in 2014, Fatih Birol, who said:

    “There is a need to change course in a dramatic way – gradual change will not be enough.”

    The Energy Security Board’s advice appears oblivious to the clear urgency required to dramatically reduce Australia’s carbon emissions in order to meet the Paris Climate Agreement.

    BZE has outlined an affordable path for 100% renewable energy for Australia within 10 years in its 2010 Stationary Energy Plan, the AEMO commissioned a study 100 Per Cent Renewables Study – Modelling Outcomes published in 2013 showing it’s feasible, and UTS:ISF’s March 2016 report 100% Renewable Energy for Australia also concurs.

    Are the “experts” the government has called upon blind and deaf? Is there a collective wilful denial of the existential threats to our society, together with a failure to understand the sense of urgency required, and lack of appreciation of the apparent available solutions for mitigation?

  164. Geoff M

    Just heard a Federal govt member on RN cheerfully explaining that in private briefings he’s heard forecasts that installed renewable power won’t increase much until the end of the 2020s decade, when, miraculously, the costs of renewables will have dropped so far that the electricity retailers won’t incur extra costs by sourcing power from renewable sources; and the nation will squeak in under our Paris emissions commitments.

    Great news, eh?

  165. Brian at 11.37pm

    Modelling the future is difficult, as we have discussed here before.

    But it’s not impossible to chart, for example, a range of “scenarios” and to explore their (forecast) consequences.

    Astrology is sheer guesswork.

    Econometrics, finance calculations, engineering models, physics, chemistry, etc. are much better based and deserve to inform decision-making. I would have thought that was clear, even in a so-called Lucky Country.

  166. GM: I think part of the problem is that views of climate science and action became political because the Green left saw climate science and action as a way to promote environmental action in general as well as attack capitalism in general. Part of the tribal right responded by attacking the premise and has got stuck in there.
    The tribal Green left also became obsessed with particular solutions such as emission trading schemes, putting a price on carbon and punishing (capitalist) the polluters. The obsession with particular solutions led to the Greens voting against Rudd’s ETS because it wasn’t exactly what they thought was needed.
    Apart from endless attacking of the science the right responded by framing the debate in terms of a choice between economic disaster now and the slight possibility of some climate in the future.
    I am moderately optimistic. It is becoming harder and harder to deny the science when we keep on breaking heat records, arctic ice is clearly trending down and a hot summer has bleached a large part of the barrier reef.
    The price of renewables has also reached a point where businesses and individuals are increasingly investing in renewables to make sure they have a reliable supply of low cost power.
    You may not have picked it up but I have a mining and construction background. It is one of the reasons I am enthusiastic about contract based systems such as the ACT renewable auction scheme for driving investment in renewables. Contracts give investors the certainty that the RET and carbon tax schemes failed to give once Abbott got his hands on power.

  167. Ambi: I have done enough modelling in my time to understand that predicting accurately what is going to happen in the future is an impossible job even if all the assumptions made were reasonable. It only takes one invention out of left field to throw things badly out – or a failure of expected advance to occur.
    Our assumption of ongoing reduction in the price of renewables assumes that scientific and engineering advances will continue to be made.
    Then there is the currency exchange rate with countries that produce solar panels etc.
    Don’t spend the 50 cents per week saving until you hace got it in your hand.

  168. Ambigulous (Re: October 19, 2017 at 11:45 am):

    You have to wonder who’s doing the “private briefings” for these Federal pollies, and what their qualifications are?

    John Davidson (Re: October 19, 2017 at 11:57 am):

    The “tribalism” you allude to is a big problem. But there’s no excuse for ignoring compelling evidence that an existential threat looms if humanity continues to emit greenhouse gases.

    The “capitalist polluters” have been externalising the costs of greenhouse gas emissions for more than a century – it’s the case of being a “tragedy of the commons“. But humanity has been successful at curbing emissions of ozone depleting gases.

    I am moderately optimistic. It is becoming harder and harder to deny the science when we keep on breaking heat records, arctic ice is clearly trending down and a hot summer has bleached a large part of the barrier reef.

    I suspect there are too many key people that don’t accept the science and continue to be wilfully ignorant (probably due to the associations they keep – “tribalism”), and by the time they do realise it’s an existential threat (or they die, so it will no longer matter for them) it will already be too late for new generations (some already alive) in the coming decades. Then you have vested interests that deliberately misinform, distort facts, and tell outright lies covertly through “astroturf” organisations, and sympathetic commentators, that confuse people that may be undecided and have a limited ability for critical thinking ( or simply laziness) to wade through a very complex subject.

    I do hope a “tipping point” comes very soon with the Australian public on committing to urgent action on climate change because, based on Ian Dunlop’s compelling arguments in his Engineers Australia Big Conversation referred previously, emergency action is required now – NOT years or decades into the future.

    I’m less optimistic about humanity solving the problem of finding an affordable, abundant energy alternative to petroleum-based liquid fuels in a timely manner. Our leaders appear to be in denial, and the general public are unaware that the world cannot keep producing around 81 million barrels of crude oil per day (or around 95 mbpd energy equivalent of total global liquid fuels) for much longer, due to the pesky problems of resource depletion and falling EROI. Liquid fuel supply supports transport, mining, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, plastics manufacturing, etc. I’d like to be wrong about this, but no one has presented a compelling counter-argument so far IMHO.

  169. GM: If you have renewable electricity it can be used to make a a whole range of of products that are currently made using fossil carbon. For example, if you use the electricity to make renewable hydrogen this can be used to:
    1. Produce renewable ammonia from air. Renewable ammonia can be used as a fuel, fertilizer and the starting point for a whole raft of nitrogen based compounds.
    2. Produce a whole range of hydrocarbons, including fuels starting with CO2. (The CO2 can be extracted from seawater or air if necessary.
    3. Do things like produce steel from iron ore etc.

  170. Thanks John

    I never assume endless technological innovation.*

    I have been supposing the lowering of prices for renewable energy devices might have something to do with production volumes rising…. and some improvements in the efficiency of manufacture. Possibly that was naive?

    * burnt in the 70s, when it turned out that fusion power, widely tipped in the late 50s and early 60s as a cheap, safe power source fuelled by isotopes found in water. No shortage of that, eh? Turned out to be technologically extremely difficult (see “plasma instability”) or very expensive (see “tokamak”, huge magnetic fields).


  171. John Davidson (Re: October 19, 2017 at 3:13 pm):

    Thanks for the link/info.

    I have 2 questions concerning renewable energy producing hydrocarbon liquid fuels, and they are :

    1. What’s the Energy Return on Investment (EROI), or aka Energy Returned on Energy Invested (EROEI), for these processes?

    If energy supply systems are less than about 6:1 it’s not adequate to sustain our modern society long-term. Ideally, it needs to be at or better than about 12 to 14:1.

    Professor Charles AS Hall has done extensive work on EROI. In 2012 he was a key speaker at a seminar organised by think tank Global Challenge in Stockholm. Beginning at time interval 22:10, Prof Hall outlines Society’s Hierarchy of “Energetic Needs” for Conventional Sweet Crude Oil. I would expect something similar is required for renewable energy resources.

    Prof Hall’s presentation can be viewed here:

    2. What additional renewable energy (over and above our electricity needs) is required to produce around 95 million barrels per day of liquid fuel energy equivalent for our current global needs?

    I don’t expect you to have an answer to these questions – if you do, terrific – but I wish to convey to you the enormity of the challenge and the limited time-frame in which to do it in.

  172. Just an observation:
    Whenever we talk about issues, and certainly in the renewable debate, the first assessment is expressed in dollars. So we place a monetary value on saving the planet, and maybe decide that it is too high or whatever.
    Perhaps a price on not saving the planet could be used to generate some kind of return on investment and justify expenditure that fails common accounting wisdom.

    During WW2 money was not an object. The war effort prevailed in the name of freedom from the enemy hands. Surely the war on climate change ought to carry the same weight or more.

  173. Not sure how this turned into Capitalist bashing but the history of coal fired power stations was the State built and owned them for socialist reasons.
    Renewables other than hydro are predominantly capitalist built and owned in 1st World Countries.
    There are huge subsidies, I’ll grant that, but Capitalists see money as money without discrimination.

  174. Mr J

    I think if you read Mr JD at 11.57am, you may find that he is criticising the “hard left Greens” (a portion of Greens members and MPs, not the total membership).

    He seems to suggest that the “anti-capitalist” bias and rhetoric of those folk blind them to reasonable compromise, and may have some of them sticking with favoured “solutions” which become obsolete or second-best by being overtaken by events. Or overtaken by your beloved ‘humanity technolgying its way forward’.

    Please don’t assume that everyone who refers to “capitalists” is a Marxist or Communist. You might find, for example, the term used by someone who is criticising a so-called hard left attitude.

    The word is in widespread use; not exclusively by socialists, communists, anarchists or Trots.

    I share John D’s scepticism of remnant Stalinists. Marx was a bright lad, but most of those who “made revolution in his name” were a bunch of deluded and murderous bastards, I reckon. But that’s only my opinion.

    Please don’t start calling yourself an Ambigulist and urging your fellow workers to march on the Winter Palace.

  175. The Industrial Revolution was begun by Capitalists using the sweat and toil of Workers, private ownership of resources, overseas trade, mercantile knowledge, and joint stock companies (many of which failed).

    State ownership of power stations came later.

  176. Mr A, I wasn’t having a go at John, nor can I remember ever doing so or a reason too.

    Most of history before the industrial revolution used the sweat and toil of workers, State owned everything, overseas trade or conquer, military knowledge and Kings companies ( many of which failed )
    I know which lifted the living conditions of women and men.

    The State in Australia monopoliesed power generation and crowded out any advance in other potentials.
    If some folks hatred for Capitalism blinds them to the fact that capitalism is renewables best friend then the media aren’t setting them straight.
    Glad you, John and I at least realise it.

  177. Would I be correct in saying solar and wind are the least heavily regulated sources of electricity?
    All things considered.

  178. … but the history of coal fired power stations was the State built and owned them for socialist reasons.

    The history in Australia isn’t quite that straight forward.
    Here’s an introduction.

  179. I’m told the history of sewerage in Sydney is a classic example of the market not providing beneficial outcomes for all. I leave it to the reader to confirm or refute this (with Ev…Id…Ence please), since my knowledge is limited.

  180. Geoff Henderson (Re: October 19, 2017 at 5:27 pm):

    During WW2 money was not an object. The war effort prevailed in the name of freedom from the enemy hands.

    The Battle of the Atlantic, being the longest continuous military campaign during WW2, almost brought the British homeland to its knees. German U-boats, surface warships, and long-range attack aircraft, together with notorious bad weather, at one point were sinking more ships than could be built to replace them. June of 1942 marks the single worst month of Allied shipping losses, totalling some 834,000 tons of goods at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

    Britain required more than a million tons of imported material per week in order to be able to survive and fight.

    The importance of logistics is often overlooked by historians, who generally focus on the more dramatic factors involved during military campaigns. There is no obvious drama in examining supply lines, and it is easier and simpler to believe wars are always won on battlefields.

    Nazi Germany & Imperialist Japan lost WW2 because their supplies of oil in particular were disrupted to such an extent that they could not wage effective modern warfare.

    My point is that you can have all the money in the world, but it will do nought if you don’t have access to energy and resources.

    Unless we find affordable, abundant, reliable, secure, sufficiently high enough EROI alternative energy supply systems soon to replace finite, depleting, increasingly more costly to extract (or in other words declining EROI) oil, gas, coal, and uranium, then our civilisation will be increasingly starved of energy. You can’t do anything without energy!

    Money is a useful indicator for assessing the relative merits of doing something, but when dealing with the merits of energy systems some focus is also required on the EROI of these systems. Low EROI energy usually means higher cost, and high EROI energy means lower cost.

    But as I said in a previous comment, once the EROI of an energy system falls to low numbers it becomes less able to sustain our society, unless it is being subsidised by higher EROI energy – like the outputs from crop-based biofuels (with an EROI no better than 2:1) subsidised by the energy inputs of finite petroleum-based diesel fuels during crop sowing, harvesting & transport (with an EROI currently generally better than 25:1). That’s not sustainable in the long-term.

  181. Thanks GeoffM. I understood that the attack on enemy supply lines was important but did not realise it played such a pivotal role. I guess the German Russian campaign suffered supply shortage too.

    EROI is correct of course. The US have been pumping super-heated stem down oil wells for a long time now to glean the last of the accessible oil from some wells. But those returns are diminishing. I don’t know how the energy balance there goes, making super-heated steam uses a lot of energy. I wonder about the tar sand project as well.

    “Money is a useful indicator for assessing the relative merits of doing something,…” Yes. My comment was just to draw attention to the fact that the first assessment of any concept seems to start with the dollar quantum. That may result in environmentally good energy development concepts not being properly assessed. I suspect my favourite system (pumped hydro) is a victim of that form of assessment even though there around 22,000 sites that might be suitable in Australia. Maybe the idea is just too big for the decision makers, or maybe t is just too disruptive.

  182. Geoff Henderson (Re: October 20, 2017 at 10:38 am):

    I don’t know how the energy balance there goes, making super-heated steam uses a lot of energy. I wonder about the tar sand project as well.

    In response to your expressed wonderment, may I suggest this paper may be informative. It’s an open source document. Figures 2 & 3 and Table 1 provide some indications of EROI values for various energy sources/systems, although the caveat note states: “please see text for discussion as all these values should not necessarily be taken at face value.

    I suspect my favourite system (pumped hydro) is a victim of that form of assessment even though there around 22,000 sites that might be suitable in Australia.

    Pumped hydro systems are dependent on other energy supply systems feeding electricity to them when they are being supplied at relatively low prices in order to pump water up to the higher reservoirs. It requires more energy to pump the water up to the top reservoirs than the energy that is delivered when it flows back down through the hydro-turbines to generate electricity back into the grid at times when pricing for electricity can be charged at higher rates.

    Pumped hydro has an important place in the energy supply mix, but I don’t consider it to be a primary energy source, but rather as an energy carrier/store. Battery storage and water-to-hydrogen electrolysis systems should be characterised the same way.

  183. GeoffM The pumped hydro being built at Kidston is powered by two (proposed) solar farms. See:

    And whilst there are energy losses associated with re-charging the upper reservoirs, at least that energy is not from fossil fuels. I think it is worth mentioning too that the asset life of pumped hydro is very long. Aside from replacing or maintaining the pumps/generators, the naturally formed reservoirs should last indefinitely.
    I agree on battery storage. But clearly pumped hydro is a mass storage system, way past the scale of Li ion or flow batteries. Kidston will provide power for around six hours. I don’t know how large other sites might be but I expect some could well be much larger, meaning more continuous quickly dispatchable power.

    I’m distracted right now but looked quickly at the article you refer to. Your reference to China’s declining EROI sits well with their intended closure of around half of their ~10,000 coal mines. Apparently the smaller mines are targeted.

  184. Double post. Dunno how that happened… The second one has more info Brian if you want to nix the first.

  185. Geoff Henderson (Re: October 20, 2017 at 3:34 pm):

    Thanks for the info.

    It’s a good way of repurposing a hole in the ground. An increase from 6 hours to 8 hours storage with optimisation of the top reservoir is a substantial improvement.

    The RenewEconomy article states:

    Genex Power’s $330 million Kidston Stage 2 Pumped Hydro Storage project – which is said to be “shovel ready” at the site of a former gold mine, where it will be co-located alongside a 270MW solar PV array – was initially slated to provide 1,500MWh of pumped hydro energy storage capacity.

    Does “shovel ready” imply the project is not committed for completion just yet, or is there certainty it will be completed?

  186. Geoff Henderson (Re: October 20, 2017 at 4:16 pm):

    Thanks for info.

    The NAIF was formed more than a year ago (3 May 2016 was when the Act was passed, and the headquarters was established on 1 July 2016) and they still don’t appear to have publicly committed any of their $5 billion funds allocated. Most of the talk is on the NAIF possibly investing $900 million on the Adani rail project linking the proposed Adani mine to the coal loader on the coast – Federal Minister Canavan, that the NAIF reported to, was talking it up until his potential dual-citizen status was questioned. Most of the 115 publicly available submissions to the Australian Senate inquiry into the NAIF have been highly critical of this, and expressing perceptions that a significant proportion of the NAIF board have conflicts of interest, and perception of bias towards mining interests.

    I guess we’ll see what happens in the fullness of time.

  187. GeoffM I called NAiF very recently to ask which Adani company had applied for the loan. My question was unwelcome to say the least. My suspicion was that the applicant was ultimately owned in the Caymans. I know the railway is cayman and so is Abbot Point.
    I got nowhere with NAÏF, did not even send me the email a very restrained voice promised. I might add that it was quite difficult to even get the phone to answer. ‘Was going to knock on their door I was getting so frustrated.

  188. Geoff Henderson (Re: October 20, 2017 at 6:58 pm):

    On 11 August 2017, at the Senate inquiry into the governance and operation of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) public hearing in Canberra, Professor Thomas Clarke, from the UTS Business School, stated:

    “Undoubtedly, if the NAIF funds this Carmichael rail project, it will become renowned as the government-funded billion-dollar ghost train; a useless waste of tax-payers’ money to enrich a company, based in the Cayman Islands, which the Australian public will not forget, or forgive.”

    I think Professor Thomas Clarke sums-up the situation succinctly. I have a copy of the hearing video and took that quote direct from seeing this video. The Hansard hearing transcript can be found here.

    (Re: October 22, 2017 at 9:30 am):

    Thanks for the link/info. All interesting, including the subsequent comments following Quiggan’s post so far.

    Kevin Cox (comment #4), Ken Fabian (#6), gmhendo (#7), particularly Ronald (#9), and Ikonoclast (#11), I think all make interesting points/arguments.

  189. Further update on NAIF.

    I rang the Australian Senate Standing Committee on Economics secretariat today, to ask whether further public hearings are being considered with the inquiry into the governance and operation of the NAIF. The inquiry is due to submit its report on 7 Dec 2017 to the Senate, which is only 45 days away. There’re no further hearings scheduled so far, but that may change – stay tuned.

    However, it was mentioned that there’s a Senate Estimates hearing scheduled for this Thursday, 26 Oct 2017, from 8:30pm to 9:00pm AEDT, in the Committee Room 2R1 at Parliament House Canberra ACT, which includes looking at the Office of Northern Australia, with the NAIF to appear first in this session. The Committee Chair is Senator Jane Hume (Lib, VIC).

    The Senate Estimates can be viewed live when in session at:

Comments are closed.