NEG: the plan to do less than nothing

I did not get my full post on the NEG (National Energy Guarantee) finished last night, so it will have to await the COAG meeting today.

Commentators seem to think the NEG will get an amber light from the states. The main problem is that in terms of emissions reduction the NEG has been evaluated as worse than doing nothing by Reputex. To the world it will look like it is – Australia keeping up appearances while putting the mockers on renewable energy and giving coal the best chance ever to keep wrecking the planet.

Reputex found that the ESB’s claims that the NEG would lift investment in renewables to 36 per cent of total production from 31 per cent under business as usual to be wrong. I understand Frontier Economics does the modelling for the Energy Security Board. Reputex compares their own modelling with that of the ESB. This graph shows the energy mix:

The difference between the second and the third bar graph is what the ESB claims the NEG will achieve. That is pathetic enough, but the fourth bar graph is what Reputex calculates would happen if the NEG didn’t happen.

Existing policy, such as it is, is clearly better than the NEG. However 60% fossil fuels at 2030 is simply unacceptable.

The Commonwealth is suggesting that state renewable energy targets should be folded into the national target. On that basis if, say, Qld aims for 50% by 2030 it means that other states can slack off the 26% target by the amount that Qld exceeds it.

At the end of the day NEM legislation is state legislation. See here and here.

I gather it is legislated first in SA, as agreed by COAG, then replicated in every state. The Commonwealth is only in the act now because it has signed up to the international Paris agreement.

Qld, Victoria and the ACT are not going legislate to say they are signed up to a 26% target, as this would make their reverse auctions for renewable energy look rather pointless.

Nor, I think, does any state want to be the one who spoils the party.

So they will stay on board and kick the can down the road, hoping that Frydenberg and Turnbull will vacate the treasury benches before they do.

Here’s the proposed NEG plan that isn’t a plan in the context of the total emissions problem, sourced from the Department of Environment and Energy via the AFR:

It shows the Turnbull government being ineffective across the board. The only policy to make a substantial diffence is tree-clearing legislation in Queensland.

Here is the table:

I can’t see any sense in it, because a 26% reduction on the cherry-picked high starting point of 2005 should give 441.7 MT of CO2e.

Please explain!

Mark Butler said:

    “Even if the Energy Security Board gives Malcolm Turnbull a Rolls Royce model of energy policy, it’s not going to be of much use to the country if he immediately seeks to put it in the garage and lock it up for 10 years, which is what he is trying to do.”

49 thoughts on “NEG: the plan to do less than nothing”

  1. Correct.
    74% of 597 is about 442.

    Gippsland Analytica
    Consultants on Arithmetic

    – our invoice is on its way –

  2. Now, possibly someone is using the renowned “Fudge Factors”?

    As in
    WTF? = Where’s The Fudge?

  3. I am an optimist. Renewable prices have passed the point where renewables need a subsidy. As a result:
    Homeowners are rushing to put solar on the roof and batteries downstairs to save money.
    Businesses are building renewable capacity to supply themselves with low cost power.
    State governments and the territories are building renewable power and energy storage because of an idealistic support of reduced emissions and the politics of improving reliability and reducing power costs to the voters. (Who also get a vote in the Federal election!)
    The coal eaters are pissing against the wind. (Perhaps the states should ban eating coal in public?)

  4. John Davidson (Re: APRIL 20, 2018 AT 3:58 PM):

    Renewable prices have passed the point where renewables need a subsidy.

    Almost there, see link here. For all intents and purposes unsubsidized renewables appear to have reached price parity with fossil fuels (coal).

    As a result:
    Homeowners are rushing to put solar on the roof and batteries downstairs to save money.

    No doubt. However, most of these systems are still grid-tied (hybrid) systems, so that if there’s a succession of overcast days, then the homeowners and businesses are relying on the grid to make-up the energy shortfall. But that’s not helpful if the grid is loosing ‘firm’ generating capacity, with Liddell closing in 4 years time, etc. Within 10 years, it’s likely that up to 6480 MW of ‘firm’ generating capacity will be retired.

    State governments and the territories are building renewable power and energy storage…

    The question I ask is: How much of this new renewable power is ‘firm’ or ‘dispatchable’ capacity that can be sustained for days, or perhaps weeks when the wind is becalmed, and the insolation is perhaps inadequate?

    There needs to be an energy plan that allows/encourages adequate new ‘firm’ capacity to replace the retiring ‘firm’ capacities.

  5. Glad to hear a bit of optimism.

    No need to subsidise, no need to force through regulation, if using renewables is of more value then the free market will do the rest.

    If the objective is speeding up that process, I’d advise focusing scientists on making them more economical, reliable and accessible rather measuring and scaring.

  6. So, electricity production and transport are the two largest emission sectors, needing urgent reductions.

    I share John’s optimism.

    But John, why not encourage coal-munching by those so inclined? Bring back Marie Antoinette:

    Let them eat coal!!!

  7. Geoff M

    Becalmed, cloudy?
    That’s where a grid has an advantage, you see.
    It moves power from sunnier, windier places to the windless, dull regions. At an extreme, a grid might even use an “interconnector” to team up with a grid that inhabits a different State.

    Brian has made a case for the Qld/NSW interconnector to have greater capacity.

    And poor old storm-swept SA could have done with more capacity in its connection to Vic, if I recall correctly, a few days before it became a kicking target by the PM and his Energy Minister.

    Grids can be very useful.
    “Grid” does not imply “hydrocarbon fuel”.

    (In my opinion.)

    BTW Geoff M, a new Senator, formerly a military chap, raised the question of Australia’s energy security, after some recent bombing in Syria. It appears a Senator shares your concern.

  8. Ambi: Agree

    Grids can be very useful.
    “Grid” does not imply “hydrocarbon fuel”.

    However, when we are rabbiting on about new long distance grid connectors we need to consider alternatives such as
    Switching to DC power lines.
    Adding energy storage at appropriate places.
    Demand management
    Solar thermal with molten salt energy storage and backup salt heating like the one being built at Pt Augusta
    More low capital cost peaking power
    Improving energy efficiency
    Problem is that pollies love big brute force photogenic solutions that waste billions of dollars.

  9. There was a long and somewhat boring interview with Dr Anthony Lynham, Queensland Energy Minister, on RN Drive tonight. Boring in the sense that it was repetitive.

    In a formal sense, Lynham said there was very little detail given by the Commonwealth about the NEG, so the COAG ministers couldn’t really be expected to sign up. They expect to be able to make a decision at their next meeting in August. There will be a teleconference in a month’s time to make sure some work is actually being done between meetings.

    After some coaxing, towards the end Lynham identified what the game-breaker would be. Seems the Commonwealth wants to lock in no change to the 2030 target. Lynham said this was unacceptable. He said he could put up with a 26% target in the first instance as long as it could be upgraded in the future.

    However, he would not say what the attitudes of other COAG members were.

    He said the 25% was manifestly inadequate and the 50% Qld target was non negotiable.

    Giles Parkinson has an article States wave through NEG that is even worse than thought. I think “wave through” is not justified, Frydenberg is on a leash, but he’s right in saying the NEG deal is worse than useless.

    I’m linking to it here because it has this quote from Frydenberg:

    “The intention is to lock into legislation the 26 per cent recuction in emissions,” he said on Friday. “We propose no change out to 2030.”

    (Emphasis added)

    Lynham said that the states were being more co-operative than Turnbull’s back bench. I think only a secure place in the sun for coal will satisfy the back bench, and probably the Nationals in general.

    So we look forward to gridlock.

    Then there was this:

    “There’s a lot of life left in them,” Frydenberg said of the country’s 20 coal generators. “Coal has good chance to play vital roll in system. We should not be demonising coal.”

    Hasn’t this guy heard of CO2, greenhouse gases and cooking the planet?

  10. Yes, John.
    Your list is good.

    Brian, in that RN interview Fran Kelly did with Lily D’Ambrosio, the Minister said the final COAG decision wasn’t due until August. So, was Minister Josh just keen for an “announceable” yesterday? “All tip, no iceberg”??

  11. Current (sic) long distance high voltage transmission involves energy loss, that grows with distance.

    So one of the advantages of John’s adding energy storage at appropriate places would be to reduce transmission losses. For domestic and neighbourhood and industrial solar PV producers, the appropriate place may be on site.

    John, does DC transmission lower some losses?

  12. Lily D’Ambrosio, the Minister said the final COAG decision wasn’t due until August. So, was Minister Josh just keen for an “announceable” yesterday? “All tip, no iceberg”??

    Ambi, there is probably a scheduled COAG energy meeting every 6 months. If there were no problems with the LNP backbench it should have been able to be sorted this time.

    Frydenberg had to say something after the meeting. He’s trying to cover up the cracks while he frantically looks for a way out of the fix he’s in. So he was all positivity, now that Weatherill is no longer there to be attacked.

    So it’s basically playing for time, but the prospects of a bipartisan agreement are looking worse and worse.

  13. There are futher concerns about the NEG we are being offered. One is that it appears to allow retailers to continue to purchase cheap offshore offsets. It’s based on the logic that it doesn’t matter where emissions are saves but it does nothing to transition our economy to being clean and green.

    Also Michael McCormack MP, Leader of The Nationals, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Federal Member for Riverina has woken up to the fact that the less we do in electricity the more we’ll have to do in transport and agriculture. In terms of transport, he says that is just not on, no way!

    One day these guys might wake up to the notion that cleaning up the electricity system is actually a really good idea, but it seems it will be a while before it all lines up for them.

  14. I have lived in the serious outback long enough to understand why the Nationals aren’t keen on a forced switch to electric vehicles. It is why I am keen about fuels like renewable ammonia that don’t require battery charging stations.

  15. As more and more people around the world become aware of the worsening costs of increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, governments can see golden opportunities in this spreading awareness and fear.

    To quote Prince Peter Kropotkin out of context, “A thirty years’ supply of the causes of war is always at hand.”

    So, in failing to rein in the excessively greedy fossil fuel businesses in Australia – NEG is only one in a whole truckload of failures to act – we have given the rest of the world a licence to launch a crusade against us. Against those nasty, greedy, uncaring, coal-exporting Australians, every one of whom is putting our planet in peril. It doesn’t matter one little bit that some of those who would delight in joining such a crusade to save the planet from destruction are themselves the various kings, emirs, sheiks, presidents-for-life or prime ministers whose regimes keep pumping out more and more oil. Nor does it matter that there are only a few hundred people in Australia who are making much more than wages, or their equivalent, out of mining and exporting coal. Nor does it matter what facts and logic say, nor how many people in Australia are striving replace coal-powered electricity with all sorts of renewable energy. Once such a crusade gets rolling, everybody wants to join in the fun and to hell with anything that spoils the crystal-clear simple story: The Evil Australians Are Killing Us so We Must Stop Them.

    Wonder how clever the boofheads who cooked up the N.E.G. are at dealing with international sanctions and embargos against us, or at – heaven forbid – surviving a righteous, multi-national military crusade to stop us murdering their babies and drowning their grannies? Impossible? Hardly! Look through history at all the wars that have been started over much, much less.

    .

  16. Ambigulous (Re: APRIL 20, 2018 AT 7:29 PM):

    Becalmed, cloudy?
    That’s where a grid has an advantage, you see.
    It moves power from sunnier, windier places to the windless, dull regions. At an extreme, a grid might even use an “interconnector” to team up with a grid that inhabits a different State.

    Yet our inter-connectors are currently inadequate to move large quantities of energy from “sunnier, windier places” to “the windless, dull regions“.

    On April 19, Radio 2GB broadcaster Chris Smith talked with Transgrid CEO Paul Italiano about building an electricity interconnection between New South Wales and Queensland, costing short of $500 million.

    The BZE Stationary Energy Plan (published 2010) included the appropriate mix of renewable primary energy generators plus the appropriate inter-connector upgrades to the existing grid. The plan is about 8 years old, and I suspect probably requires some tweaking to take into account new developments (like the falling cost of battery storage and growth in rooftop solar-PV), but I think it would be unlikely that there would be major changes.

    And every time energy is converted from one form to another, losses are incurred. So, for example, converting electricity to chemical energy stored in a battery, then back again to electricity requires more primary energy to be produced at the outset. And there’s a similar situation with Snowy 2.0.

    I think solar thermal with adequate energy storage is required to provide large-scale ‘dispatchable’ electricity.

  17. I agree entirely, Geoff M.

    I certainly didn’t claim the present inter-connectors are adequate.

    And yes, every conversion loses some energy.
    (That’s why, for example, folk here in Victoria said it made more energy sense, to pipe nastural gas to household kitchens for cooking on gas stoves; rather than burning gas to generate electricity and sending that to kitchens to power electric hot-plates. That ignored emissions per se).

    On conversion losses, I reckon a householder may be happy to “wear” conversion losses on:

    a) electric energy produced on her roof, then stored in her battery, then used in her house on a cloudy day

    b) stored energy collected during the day, which recharges her electric vehicle overnight

    She may be happy with these costs and choices.

    ***
    BTW, I haven’t forgotten that I saId your question about progress on renewables deserved a considered reply.

    Here it is:

    1) the pace and style of social changes are difficult to predict; linear trends often don’t persist

    2) the levers of change can be hard to identify: they are not always in the realm of explicit politics

    3) none of us knows which actions or pressures or decisions are most effective in turning the errant ship of state around: it could be that petition, that phone call to an MP, that submission to an enquiry, that chance meeting with an adviser, that public meeting, that lecture attended or given, that book read and discussed, that purchase of new solar pv, that enquiry about a new EV, that demo in the City Square, that school council decision to put solar pv on the school roof

    4) the simplest actions and ideas can have ripple effects [anyone who claims to know the relative strength of “social forces” is kidding themselves; sometimes a society is ripe for a sudden change: Gdansk Shipyards, late 1970s]

    5) scientific and engineering innovation has much to offer

    6) so does capitalism, a.k.a. the faith of Jump

    7) so does free speech, and its close cousins: tolerance, respect, careful reading, logic, clear analysis….

    8) and it follows from some of the above, that to be “an activist” is not the only way to better the world. We need thinkers, writers, analysts, engineers, and yes: financiers, investors and capitalists.

    + + ++ +++ +++++ ++++++++

    Dwight Eisenhower once said*, ‘the people want peace and one day the political leaders might just have to get out of their way and let them have it!’

    The same may be true of “the people” and renewable energy.

    Good luck to you in your efforts, Geoff M.

    * a rough recollection

  18. Ambigulous (Re: APRIL 23, 2018 AT 5:34 PM):

    (That’s why, for example, folk here in Victoria said it made more energy sense, to pipe nastural gas to household kitchens for cooking on gas stoves; rather than burning gas to generate electricity and sending that to kitchens to power electric hot-plates. That ignored emissions per se).

    The Alternative Technology Association (ATA) sponsored research into whether it is more cost effective for homes in Australia to have dual energy (electricity + gas) or single energy (electric only) supply. It published a report Are We Still Cooking with Gas? in November 2014, link here. The ATA is intending to release an update soon, with some of the preliminary findings highlighted in an article in the ATA’s latest edition (Apr-Jun 2018) of its quarterly publication ReNew. Australians perhaps should be reassessing whether gas still makes good economic (and energy efficiency) sense, given these comments:

    “We have reached a tipping point,” Mr Moyse said. “No longer can households automatically assume that gas is the cheapest fuel source for household energy needs. This is counter-intuitive to the perception of gas as a cheap fuel over the past three decades.”

    And for Victorians:

    In Victoria, where $100 million is being spent to expand the reticulated gas network to rural and regional communities, the research found that despite this massive subsidy, homes would be better off with electricity and efficient electric appliances.

    It will be interesting to see the updated findings.

    And as I’ve said before:
    We must leave petroleum oil, before oil leaves us.
    We must leave fossil natural gas, before gas leaves us.
    We must leave oil, gas and coal, before 2050, to mitigate dangerous climate change.

  19. Geoff M

    Where did I say gas was cheaper?
    {Hint: nowhere.}

    I was agreeing with you that every energy conversion involves energy loss. As an example: burning gas in a gas-fired electricity generator (we used to have some, “Jeeralang gas turbines”, near Morwell in the Latrobe Valley. They fed power into the transmission lines for, mainly, Melbourne).

    Then using that electric power to cook with (involving heat losses in stoves, losses on hot plates). It was argued that piping the same gas to a household kitchen, and burning it there (in an oven or on a hot plate), was more efficient from an energy point of view.

    One set of conversion losses instead of two.

    Frankly, I see little point in pursuing this here.
    The argument was advanced circa 1980.

    Back then, much attention was on
    * energy efficiency
    * reducing energy use
    * new power sources, e.g. solar, wind, tidal, fusion
    and much less discussion on greenhouse gases, though interest in that was beginning to warm up.

    I’m sure that all the figures from 1980 are now outdated. Cooking has become more energy-efficient; Bass Strait gas is less prominent for Victorians; solar pv has advanced almost unrecognisably; the ‘star ratings’ for houses and appliances have been developed and are widely used.

    Fossil fuels are generally on the nose.

    I wasn’t praising gas; I was acknowledging the constraints set for each of us by thermodynamics.

    Josiah Willard Gibbs
    from the ethereal realms

  20. Ambigulous (Re: APRIL 24, 2018 AT 4:06 PM):

    Where did I say gas was cheaper?

    Why would Victorian “folk” be interested in an “energy sense” to favour gas over electricity? I put it to you most Victorians are interested only in the cost in dollar terms of energy – gas vs electricity. Having a dual energy supply grid doesn’t make sense unless the energy supply cost of one of the modes (i.e. gas) is significantly cheaper – it was perhaps a decade ago, but it isn’t now.

    But gas is less energy efficient than electricity for:
    hot water heating – particularly if you use a heat-pump coupled to solar-PV;
    space heating – use high efficiency reverse-cycle air conditioner; and
    cooktop – use induction electric cooktop.

    I think most people are unaware of this.

  21. Last attempt GeoffM.

    1980s.
    Talking about energy losses at each and every conversion of one form of energy into another form.

    Not arguing about gas vs. solar electricity in 2018.

    A different example: if I apply brakes fitted to my car, I convert kinetic energy into (waste) heat energy in the brake linings. Old-fashioned brakes.

    Not new-fangled gizmos that can grab (some of) that energy and make it available to the vehicle later.

    You yourself have pointed out that storage in batteries or pumped hydro involves necessary losses in conversion or re-conversion or whatever you wish to call it.

    Another example: the water in a high dam has gravitational potential energy. Let it fall down a pipe, to run a turbine that generates electric power. The output power will be lower than the rate at which the gravitational potential energy is being lost. Inefficiency. Energy losses. Unavoidable.

    Farewell.

  22. Induction electric cooktops were not available for households in Victoria in the 1980s.

    Ask Captain James Cook why he didn’t just use GPS like any sensible person would?

  23. Cole Latimer,
    ‘I’m truly concerned’: AEMO chief warns on rooftop solar.

    SMH online, Wed 25th April.

  24. Ambigulous (Re: APRIL 24, 2018 AT 4:06 PM):

    Then using that electric power to cook with (involving heat losses in stoves, losses on hot plates). It was argued that piping the same gas to a household kitchen, and burning it there (in an oven or on a hot plate), was more efficient from an energy point of view.

    It was argued…”? Who was/is arguing “that piping the same gas to a household kitchen, and burning it there (in an oven or on a hot plate), was more efficient from an energy point of view”?

    Why are you referring (in your comments at APRIL 24, 2018 AT 11:12PM and at APRIL 24, 2018 AT 11:17PM) back to the 1980s? That’s almost 30 years ago. What’s that got to do with what is achievable now?

    The Alternative Technology Association (ATA) 25 November 2014 publication Are we still Cooking with Gas? includes Section 1.2.2 Appliance Performance & Substitution, that states (bold text my emphasis):

    Space heating and water heating are the two most energy intensive activities that residential energy consumers use reticulated gas for, particularly in cold and temperate climates. Cooking is the third – and whilst the volume of gas used for cooking is much lower than for heating, consumers typically prefer the quality of gas cook tops over electric resistance cooking.

    Electrical technology used to heat air and water is becoming increasingly efficient. Residential scale reverse cycle air-conditioners (for space heating) are reaching co-efficients of performance (CoP) of 5.0 and over – which means that for every 1 unit of energy input to the system, 5 units are generated to heat air. CoPs for the most efficient electric heat pumps (for water heating) now exceed 4.0.

    Compared with the most efficient equivalent gas appliance that have a CoP of around 0.8 – 0.9, an efficient air-conditioner or electric water heater now uses 1/7th to 1/5th of the input energy for the same end use. While CoPs for electric appliances may continue to improve, gas appliances are forever limited to 0.9 at best.

    In addition, induction cook tops, that offer high efficiency and similar (or greater) amenity to gas cook tops, have become increasingly affordable in recent years and continue to drop in price as they gain popularity as a mass market product.

    And Section 1.2.3 Changing Economics states (bold text my emphasis):

    The two trends of higher retail gas prices and improved performance / lower price of efficient electrical technologies are now firmly established in Australia and are likely to continue.

    Based on current price forecasts and appliance price and performance trends, are many cases where gas appliances are no longer the most affordable option for households for heating and cooking. This is a significant reversal of the rationale that has underpinned the last three to four decades of investment in reticulated gas connections and appliances for residential end-use energy needs.

    I think the evidence presented by the ATA November 2014 report contradicts your statement that using gas in “a household kitchen, and burning it there (in an oven or on a hot plate), was more efficient from an energy point of view”.

    Add that operating and maintaining the gas grid also requires energy and resources, and burning gas in the kitchen can create emissions problems – CO2 and water vapour/humidity, if not adequately ventilated. Plus, gas & electricity grid supplied households are paying two service connection standing charges.

    Why should Australia continue to prop-up two energy supply networks (electricity & gas) for residential homes when one energy network (electricity only) coupled with the use of efficient electric appliances can provide a more energy efficient, lower emissions, and cost-effective solution in the medium to long-term?

    I’m sure that all the figures from 1980 are now outdated.

    …as the ATA publication that I’ve referred to indicates. So, why do you continue to make statements that gas is more energy efficient (after I drew your attention to the ATA publication here in this thread and in another, earlier thread – Turning old mine pits to electricity gold in my comment to you at DECEMBER 19, 2017 AT 3:50 PM)?

    I wasn’t praising gas…

    I think you are making conflicting/confusing and erroneous statements. That’s why I’ve responded to your comments to highlight more recent data.

  25. Ambigulous (Re: APRIL 23, 2018 AT 5:34 PM):

    BTW, I haven’t forgotten that I saId your question about progress on renewables deserved a considered reply.

    Thank you for your response, but I’m confused. Where did I ask you a question “about progress on renewables”? Can you please quote a specific reference for where I supposedly asked you “about progress on renewables”? I’m unable to recall asking this question directed to you.

    In the Don’t write Adani off thread, you asked me in your comment (at MARCH 29, 2018 AT 1:38 PM):

    If the quote indicates you think others are lethargic…. I ask: how can you tell??

    I responded to your question in my comment (at APRIL 3, 2018 AT 12:02 PM), and then asked you:

    So, do you think there is a lethargy? Is there evidence to the contrary?

    I suspect you don’t want to answer this specific question (in the context it was asked), and it appears to me you have deflected it by reframing/changing it to be a more acceptable one for you, to allow you to answer in the manner you have done. I don’t think that you have answered my specific question (asked 23 days ago), and I doubt you will. That’s entirely your prerogative.

    If you ask someone else an inconvenient/challenging question I suggest you be prepared to deal with it being redirected back to you.

  26. GeofM,

    I am saying that gas for cooking is strategicaly a better option in the long run, for a number of reasons.

    Firstly gas is stored energy and rates as instantly despatchable in the electricity jargon.

    Secondly all electric cooking will draw more energy than most battery systems can beliver. Induction cooking is faster but that does not cover baking and grilling so is only a prtial solution. I see induction as being ancilliary rather primary.

    Thirdly gas can and will in due course be produced from recycled waste cellulosic material (cardboard, paper, some food items, plant waste, etc) and so can be a fully renewable resource for domestic purposes.

    Fourthly, gas can and will be used as a distributed energy production non solar period backup fuel, which again when produced from municiple waste cellulosic material converted to gas is 100% renewable and atmospheric CO2 emission neutral, along with being over 70% efficient. 70% efficient due to the backup generator’s waste heat supplies household hot water and energy for space heating in the winter months.

    Energy required for cooking is a small load on a daily basis. Gas consumption for cooking in my household was over 2 years for one 45 kg propane cylinder. The problem with cooking is the surge load of up to 10 kW during the most intense cooking period is too great for battery systems.

    However the Sonnen Battery system being offerred looks like a good deal, and highly responsible from a commuynity point of view as it uses the grid to interconnect all of the batteries in its system, draws energy from the grid at times and draws energy from the distributed battery banks to stabilise supply and demand fluctuations. Apart from that it is a modular structure that can be serviced and added to incrementally for a twenty year at least product life.

    Sonnen are showing more community energy responsibility than the government by a factor of three.

  27. GM/Bilb: Gas can be better for cooking some things that require fast heating although my understanding is that induction heating can be very efficient. I also find that microwave cooking can be good for some things or as a tool that allows the bulk of cooking to be done outside of peak hours.
    In terms of peak hour power consumption how to the various cooking methods compare?

  28. Brian the grid operators are overpaid. They are receiving 50% of the full retail price, which is fully double what it was in just 10 years ago, so the transmission industry is receiving 100% of the industry revenue of ten years ago. This whole thing is totally messed up and 100% at the hands of Tony Abbott who smashed apart the first attempt to set up a carbon pricing mechanism then left the industry players to divide up the energy pie with its steadily increasing electricity price, to suit themselves.

    Everyone has conveniently forgotten what happened, why, and so now anyone who wants to send power from one house to another through the street cables is paying 13 cents per unit minimum to do that when itshould be 3 cents.

    It is a bit rich for Zibleman to step in now to say, oh poor power transmission people they are suffering. Major BS. Particularly as the transmission people haven’t lost a cent so far. Almost nobody has installed domestic storage at this point, and nearly every rooftop solar system installed to date has been organised to be dependent upon the grid (if the grid goes down so does everyone’s rooftop solar as the inverters need to see the grid sine wave to operate, no grid, inverters stop working, no solar power).

    Further more the Sonnen battery system as is to be installed utilises the grid to provide a stable grid (within the customer base) where the batteries are managed as a common asset. That company is demonstrating ten times the foresight, intelligence, and integrity of our government with their self interested chaotic approach, which it seems Zibleman is an extention of.

    They are going to get to charge a transmission service fee for no service over my dead body.

    I was pointing these consequences out 10 years ago. Australia is the energy Dunce country, and the LNP demonstrate Peak Stupidity.

  29. BilB, the grid is an essential piece of infrastructure. Soeone has to pay to keep the street lights on, lights in flats, in the offices of public servants, in hospitals, jails, police HQ, ambulance and fire stations etc etc.

    I think all that Zibelman is saying is that we need to pay for it, and when people who have good incomes go off the grid it becomes harder for everyone else.

    Whether the networks are charging too much is a separate issue. Hugh Grant has just done a 60p paper saying they are with some recommendations about how things should change. I’ll look at it in an upcoming post.

  30. “You can’t simply say [to those without solar], too bad for you because you have to pay for the entirety of the networks.”

    Just like,
    You can’t simply say [to those without rain water tanks ], too bad for you because you have to pay for the entirety of the water networks.
    Or
    You can’t simply say [to those without septic tanks or bio toilets ], too bad for you because you have to pay for the entirety of the sewage networks.
    Or
    You can’t simply say [to those without veggie gardens ], too bad for you because you have to pay for the entirety of the domestic horticultural networks.

    I disagree, I think you certainly can and should.

  31. We are already paying for electricity at the level that was to deliver 90% renewables by 2035, instead the likes of Turnbull want that to be mostly business as usual and they are OK with business pocketing the money. Then after all that has occurred this greedy bunch want income guarantees that no other industry in Australia can hope for.

    Street lighting is paid for by councils, and there are better ways of doing that than the way it is currently done.

    As for the rest of your points, There will always be a grid of some kind and those who need it will pay thar price.

    You are not registering that the Australian government has manifestly failed to enact the changes essentially required to address our CO2 reduction commitments. They have even proposed doing nothing at all. Some Australians know that this is disasterous and have taken personal responsibility for their emissions.

    Zibleman’s argument represents an extention of a recalcitrant government going even further than doing nothing to the extent of penalising those who have taken a stand on CO2 emissions.

    I’m totally amazed that you have been taken in by the sneaky cynicism of this proposal.

  32. BilB (Re: APRIL 26, 2018 AT 1:13 PM):

    I am saying that gas for cooking is strategicaly a better option in the long run…

    Are you referring to bottled LPG gas (i.e. propane – composition C3H8) or network (or mains) supplied gas (I.e. predominantly methane – CH4, with perhaps small quantities of ethane – C2H6)?

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but most biogas is methane, which is more energy intensive to compress and contain as bottled gas.

    The Australian Energy Resource Assessment 2014 has a chapter on bioenergy resources. Section 12.1.3 Key factors in utilisation Australia’s bioenergy resources includes:

    • The proportion of biomass potentially available for bioenergy is dependent on a wide range of factors such as feedstock prices, seasonal availability and the relative value of biomass for the production of other commodities.
    • A key consideration in the expansion of the bioenergy industry is to ensure sustainable use of resources to avoid any potential negative environmental and social impacts.

    Appendix D includes energy content conversion factors:
    For Australian natural gas (mainly methane), the average energy density is 38.8 MJ/m3 (or 54 GJ/t).
    For ethane, the average energy density is 57.5 MJ/m3.
    For propane, energy density is 25.5 MJ/litre (or 49.6 GJ/t).

    Energy required for cooking is a small load on a daily basis.

    If gas cooking in households is the only gas appliance remaining, I think it’s difficult to justify maintaining a gas network connection in the medium to long-term, and difficult to justify the gas network standing charges.

    Firstly gas is stored energy and rates as instantly despatchable…

    …and its combustion products are greenhouse gases. If there are gas leaks, the greenhouse gas effect is much worse. We need to be reducing carbon emissions to mitigate dangerous climate change, yes?

    Secondly all electric cooking will draw more energy than most battery systems can beliver.

    Your comment suggests to me you may be considering/planning to go off-grid. It suggests to me that you can afford to. I put it to you that most Australians would be unable to afford to do so, and renters and strata are probably excluded from this option. What would you think renters/landlords and people that cannot afford it should do?

    Induction cooking is faster but that does not cover baking and grilling so is only a prtial solution. I see induction as being ancilliary rather primary.

    Do you bake and grill more than using your cooktop? Did you know some induction cooktops have a griddle zone? Some electric ovens available have a steam function. I think the case for continuing with a gas grill and oven is weak when there are lower emissions, cost competitive alternatives that perform equivalent functions.

    Thirdly gas can and will in due course be produced from recycled waste cellulosic material (cardboard, paper, some food items, plant waste, etc) and so can be a fully renewable resource for domestic purposes.

    Do you have estimates that indicate production from biogas would be sufficient to supply household domestic demand, as well as serve industry? Importantly, what would be the cost – is it competitive or more expensive than having all-electric cooking? I think biogas should be prioritised for industries that find it difficult or impossible to operate without using gas – i.e. plastics, fertilisers, explosives, etc.

    Fourthly, gas can and will be used as a distributed energy production non solar period backup fuel, which again when produced from municiple waste cellulosic material converted to gas is 100% renewable and atmospheric CO2 emission neutral, along with being over 70% efficient. 70% efficient due to the backup generator’s waste heat supplies household hot water and energy for space heating in the winter months.

    Gas cannot compete (on an energy efficiency and cost-effective basis) with heat-pumps for hot water heating (particularly when coupled with rooftop solar-PV) and space heating. Please re-read my comment above (at APRIL 26, 2018 AT 12:03 PM). I have first-hand experience (before and after) and concur with the findings in the ATA report.

    Energy required for cooking is a small load on a daily basis.

    So, it seems to me having all-electric cooking appliances would make little difference to daily and quarterly energy bills, wouldn’t you think? Resistance to switching is primarily due to the significant one-off cost of replacing the gas appliances, particularly if the existing gas appliances are functional (and perhaps remodelling of the kitchen cabinetry if existing gas appliances are built-in?) and adding electricity supply cabling and circuit breaker. That’s the sticking point with me presently. For me, replacing the gas hot water system with a heat-pump system and retiring the gas space heater with a reverse-cycle air conditioner was ‘a no-brainer’, and I’m gaining substantial energy cost savings.

    Gas consumption for cooking in my household was over 2 years for one 45 kg propane cylinder.

    For the year to 15 January 2018, I consumed about 106 MJ of natural gas for cooking only. I tend to use the microwave much more.

    The problem with cooking is the surge load of up to 10 kW during the most intense cooking period is too great for battery systems.

    Not a problem if connected to the electricity grid or an adequate capacity micro-grid.

    I suspect you are only looking at your own needs and not looking at the bigger picture.

  33. Brian (Re: APRIL 27, 2018 AT 9:57 PM):

    BilB, the grid is an essential piece of infrastructure. Soeone has to pay to keep the street lights on, lights in flats, in the offices of public servants, in hospitals, jails, police HQ, ambulance and fire stations etc etc.

    Excellent points, Brian. We (as a society) need to be looking at the bigger picture, and not just look at our own personal needs.

  34. BilB

    27th April 11.41am.

    The inverters need the grid to obtain the sine wave.
    OK.

    Would this alternative work?
    Sine wave is broadcast continuously on an AM or FM radio frequency; receiver powered by solar PV picks up that signal and uses it; power continues to flow within premises, though automatic shut-offs needed if amps drop too far.

    Expensive? Not feasible?

    Won’t work because the inverter needs the LOCAL sine wave, which will be slightly “out of phase” with the sine wave at, say, Sydney GPO due to transmission times in high tension or local lines???

    (Speed of radio waves is higher than speed of electrical signals in wires.)

    Look, if it is feasible, I hereby donate the patent rights to the artist known as BilB, and to his heirs and successors, and his high tech business; for the good of the solar PV loving amongst us.

    Given this twenty-eighth day of April in the year of our lord 2018 in the State of Victoria.

    Signed: Ambo da Vinci

  35. GeofM,

    Gas: The gas that the argument refers to is methane gas (natural gas, coal seam gas, biogenic methane [municiple and sewerage waste bio digesters], synthetic gas conversion, clathrates, etc) as is currently supplied domestically. I am using bottled propane (fossil fuel origin) as it is a convenient stored gas which gives me 4 years of energy security for cooking. Propane can be synthesized from methane, however.

    Amount of cellulosic waste available for the synthetic production of methane: I based my calculation based on the amount of paper and cardboard waste that arrives at Victorian (the Australian state) waste facilities. I did not take into account the amount of “green” waste conveniently available via the same collection pathway.

    Energy for cooking is just one of three projected uses for the gas. Cooking, non solar backup power generation for distributed solar, other household energy needs beyond that within the basic solar energy package. Yes my model is entirely about off national grid energy systems. If you’ve read anything that I write you know that this is the energy formula that I have advocated for the last ten years for household energy and family transportation. I did the calculation to satisfy my self that the cardboard waste alone in Victoria is sufficient to power their households for their cooking and non solar period energy needs several fold.

    Backup power generation is via a Liquid Piston engine (look it up) 3 kW generator set embedded into a water cylinder. This combination generates electricity to charge batteries (30% of the energy from the fuel [methane]) and another 50% of the energy stored in the form of hot water, with the remaining 20% being lost in exhaust gas heat (this could be used for a green house in the most extreme case). In this way the fuel which is entirely green as it comes from locally grown trees converted to cardboard for packaging achieves an energy efficiency of 80% and multifunctional material useage, with the exhaust gas recycled back to trees in subsequent years. CO2 Closed Loop.

    I have spoken with the directors at Liquid Piston who do see the advantages in their engines being used in this manner. We’ll see if they take up the challenge.

    This,…
    “Gas cannot compete (on an energy efficiency and cost-effective basis) with heat-pumps for hot water heating (particularly when coupled with rooftop solar-PV) and space heating. Please re-read my comment above (at APRIL 26, 2018 AT 12:03 PM). I have first-hand experience (before and after) and concur with the findings in the ATA report.”
    …is under informed and functionally incorrect. I am happy to demonstrate why.

    The is a fair bit of synthetic natural gas development going on
    http://www.etipbioenergy.eu/?option=com_content&view=article&id=280
    which will turn into actual facilities when the need is great enough and denialist politician density has decreased.

    Geof, you are claiming that off grid solar is neglible, I would agree, however Audrey Zibelman does not. I am arguing that off grid solar will become the domestic industry standard and Zibleman who can clearly do the numbers on this agrees.

    Here is a novel, you heard it here first, notion that you will not have considered and solves Zibleman’s concerns.

    Electrical energy tankers. For the domestic user this is his electric car which he charges up when at work and plugs into his household system when at home when there is a shortfall or failure of a system component. In the “Brian is worried” scenario these would be electric vehicles which can be plugged into municiple facilities when there is a need to top up essential facilities.

    What I propose is the long term solution that householders will build towards as opportunity for change presents itself.

    We are now twenty years into our national economy decarbonising window. How well do you think we are performing?

    Which has shown the greatest enthusiasm for change? Government?, Industry?, Private individuals?.

    This couple are national heroes and are demonstrating the path to the future, whereas these people are enemies of progress and Climate Change Action.

  36. Ambi,

    I spoke with the Natural Solar Sonnen Battery rep on Friday about the “grid down” scenario and he said that with a $1000 software patch added to their installation their system will power the house hold for low energy draw usage (ie not cooking, air conditioning, or space heating).

    This system is the one that the government should be promoting energetically and nationally, as it solves most of the energy issues as a grid tied solution. It is not the one that I prefer, but it is the optimum solar partner for a stable and economic national grid.

    The actual solution that I am enacting is a totally off grid one on a yacht starting some time next year for the rest of my life. I am working steadily towards that goal, which will be a take up of where I left of in 1979 when I sold my first yacht and moved to New Zealand to scratch my industrial itch. That was a great time in my life and I loved every minute of it, but now it is time, the kids are now fully independent, to get back onto track and explore many places in the way I wanted to so many years ago.

  37. By the way it is well worth listening to this Hugh Grant interview as he spells out in no uncertain terms that the reason for the high electricity price is because as Jess Hill demonstrated the power transmission sector is rorting the public with up to a three fold increase in their charges.

  38. Last Thursday (April 26), Radio 2GB broadcaster Alan Jones had a ‘robust’ exchange with Minister Josh Frydenberg, about some home truths and to get some answers on behalf of taxpayers on Australia’s energy policy, link to audio here. Alan Jones welcomed Minister Frydenberg to the Radio 2GB studio and then said:

    “Let me be blunt. I’ve known you for some time. My judgement of you is that you’ve sold your political soul for the sake of ministerial office.”

    There were some more fiery words said.

    During the discussion concerning “Snowy 2.0” costings, Alan Jones says in the interview:

    “I quote Lazards, who are a financial advisor and asset management firm, that engages in investment and banking and asset management around the world, in 27 countries and 43 cities. They’ve been creditably in operation since 1848, and they are from New York, and Paris, and London…”

    I took the opportunity to forward my thoughts/feedback to Alan Jones, today (April 30), (subject to a 3000-character message limit) as follows:

    Dear Alan,

    I took the opportunity to listen to your podcast interview with Federal Minister Josh Frydenberg on April 26, 2018. In your interview, you refer to the “eminent outfit” Lazard.

    I draw your attention to Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis – Version 11.0 (Nov 2017). On page 2, the Unsubsidized Levelized Cost of Energy Comparison indicates:

    Solar Thermal Tower with Storage: US$98 – 181/MWh

    Gas Peaking: US$156 – 210/MWh
    Nuclear: US$112 – 183/MWh
    Coal: US$60 – 143/MWh
    Gas Combined Cycle: US$42 – 78/MWh

    For the Solar Thermal Tower with Storage, note 3 states: “Low end represents an illustrative concentrating solar tower built in South Australia.”

    South Australia has contracted US company SolarReserve to build a $650 million, 150 MW capacity concentrated solar thermal “power tower” with 8 hours molten salt storage electricity generator facility near Port Augusta, known as project Aurora, beginning construction this year, to be operational by 2020, and deliver electricity at no more than $78/MWh over the 20-year energy supply contract period – cheaper than SA gas-fired power.

    Per Dr Finkel’s Independent Review, published 9 June 2017, new ultra-supercritical coal-fired generators average Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) for 2020 & 2030 is shown at $81/MWh. Clearly, new coal-fired electricity generation is not cheap power, and no cheaper than solar thermal with storage is now.

    At reneweconomy.com.au/graphs-day-wind-fast-solar-faster-batteries-fastest-68311/ a graph titled “Generalised power plant years to deliver including resource and project lead time”, from Professor Ray Wills, shows that:

    Battery storage: <1 year to install;
    Solar PV: 1 to 2.5 years;
    Solar thermal: 2 to 3.5 years;
    Wind: 2.5 to 3.5 years;

    Gas: 3 to 5 years (excluding resource development);

    Geothermal: 5 to 8 years;
    Coal: 6 to 9 years (ex. resource development);
    Nuclear: 8 to 15 years (ex. resource development).

    Clearly, new geothermal, coal and nuclear electricity generator options cannot be built soon enough to replace Liddell when it closes in 2022. Even gas is marginal. And “Snowy 2.0” is at least 6 years away – also too late.

    I think the only timely, affordable, ‘dispatchable’ option now remaining is for NSW to build at least five solar thermal “power towers” with molten salt storage – each unit with 200 MW min capacity generators, with 17 hours min molten salt thermal storage.

    It appears NSW has insufficient thermal coal reserves (NSW Gov. estimates at 15 Gt), at current rates of extraction (246.8 Mt/y raw coal extracted in FY2015-16), to sustain supplies for more than a few decades, unless “prime agricultural lands” & critical water resources are compromised – see attachment.

    Renewables are the only long-term sustainable, affordable, reliable option available now to replace Australia’s ageing coal-fired generation fleet. The longer we fail to implement an effective energy plan, the greater the risk of unreliable, higher priced power in the 2020s.
    GM

    Included with this feedback message, I attached a 1310 kB pdf file sourced from the NSW Government Department of Industry, Division of Resources & Energy, titled New South Wales – Coal investment profile, dated Oct 2016 (document identified as PUB16/482).

    It will be interesting to see whether Alan Jones replies to my feedback.

  39. BilB (Re: APRIL 28, 2018 AT 2:10 PM):

    Propane can be synthesized from methane, however.

    Indeed, it can be. But that requires energy to process, which means it will cost more to produce compared with capturing liquified petroleum gases (like propane, butane and pentane, etc.) as a by-product of petroleum extraction. But I note you have ignored my question:

    We need to be reducing carbon emissions to mitigate dangerous climate change, yes?

    This seems to be inconvenient question for you, yes?

    Humanity must reduce carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050 to mitigate dangerous climate change.

    Energy for cooking is just one of three projected uses for the gas.

    Projected by whom? You? Your comments seem to me to be promoting continued burning of GHG hydrocarbons in the home when there are clearly cost-effective, zero-carbon emissions alternatives available now.

    Yes my model is entirely about off national grid energy systems.

    Your statement suggests to me you are only looking at your own personal needs. In isolation, that has negligible detrimental impact on the electricity grid, but if enough electricity grid customers also disconnect, then the electricity grid risks becoming unviable. You may find that governments may impose taxes/charges in future to assist in maintaining the electricity grid – like water/sewage charges are currently imposed on properties that are adjacent to mains water and/or sewer mains, whether you use these services or not. And you get no benefit if you don’t store or consume all the energy generated.

    In this way the fuel which is entirely green as it comes from locally grown trees converted to cardboard for packaging achieves an energy efficiency of 80% and multifunctional material useage, with the exhaust gas recycled back to trees in subsequent years. CO2 Closed Loop.

    Energy efficiency of 80%cannot compete with heat-pumps with CoPs of 4 – 5. See my comment to Ambigulous (at APRIL 26, 2018 AT 12:03 PM) where I quote Section 1.2.2 Appliance Performance & Substitution from the ATA report.

    And how do you return all the minerals drawn out of the soil by the trees that are consumed to make packaging and paper? If soils aren’t replenished with crucial minerals/elements, then eventually they will lose fertility – you don’t get something for nothing in return!

    This,…
    “Gas cannot compete (on an energy efficiency and cost-effective basis) with heat-pumps for hot water heating (particularly when coupled with rooftop solar-PV) and space heating. Please reread my comment above (at APRIL 26, 2018 AT 12:03 PM). I have first-hand experience (before and after) and concur with the findings in the ATA report.”
    …is under informed and functionally incorrect.

    In other words, I think you are saying the ATA report “is under informed and functionally incorrect” – what a display of your supreme wilful ignorance and hubris! In my Submission (#239) to the NSW Parliament Legislative Council Select Committee inquiry on Electricity Supply, Demand and Prices in NSW, I stated on page 2:

    As the enclosed tables indicate, my combined electric and gas bills over the first four quarters totalled $1487.70, and the last four quarters totalled $683.16. This represents a saving of more than $800 per annum on my energy (electric + gas) bills, without any change to my lifestyle.

    It seems to me you are, in effect, calling me a liar regarding my experience – that’s highly offensive to me. You say:

    Geof, you are claiming that off grid solar is neglible, I would agree, however Audrey Zibelman does not.

    Did I? Where? At RenewEconomy.com.au there’s an article headlined Angry and frustrated, more customers are quitting the grid, dated April 24. Perhaps Audrey Zibelman has reasons to be concerned?

    We are now twenty years into our national economy decarbonising window. How well do you think we are performing?

    Abysmal. As Ian Dunlop says:

    The voluntary Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) made by Paris participants, if implemented, would not meet the objectives, leading to a global temperature increase in the 3-4°C range, a world incompatible with an organised global community.

    The Australian commitment, of a 26-28% emission reduction by 2030 on 2005 levels is derisory on any fair international comparison.

    Continued wilful ignorance and lethargy will likely lead to pain (and likely extinction) for millions (and probably billions) of people in the not too distant future.

  40. Come now, GeoffM.

    Accuse BilB of “only looking at his own personal needs” and then you quote your own energy bills as “evidence”??

    He did not call you a liar.
    Offence taken?
    Well, offence granted. (You seem to seek it out.)

    I agree we may all need to pay a charge to maintain a grid. But disagree that “you get no benefit if you don’t use or store all energy generated”.

    Use or store all = maximum [private] benefit.
    Use or store some = non-maximum [private] benefit, but not zero benefit.

    I am quite happy for another citizen to use some of the excess power produced on my roof when I can’t use (and/or store) it.

    Share it around.
    Co-operation.
    Quite different from the ‘selfishness’ you seemed to suggest BilB was showing.

    On a scale from
    0 = no benefit, to
    100 = maximum benefit
    there are a whole host of other numbers. I don’t need to list them or cite a source.

    Energy supply is not “black and white”.

    Your interlocutors here are not your enemies.

    Some differ in some opinions. Free speech. Picking fights wastes energy.

  41. Ambigulous (Re: MAY 1, 2018 AT 2:08 PM):

    But disagree that “you get no benefit if you don’t use or store all energy generated”.

    If you are off-grid, how do you gain any benefit from any excess energy that your generators are producing that exceeds any of your energy storage capacity? If you are still connected to the grid, then you can sell that excess energy to others, or am I missing something?

    I am quite happy for another citizen to use some of the excess power produced on my roof when I can’t use (and/or store) it.

    That’s fine if you are still connected to the grid. As I understand BilB’s intention, he is considering/planning to go off-grid – he won’t have that option available to him if he does so, yes?

    He did not call you a liar.

    Yes, he did not specifically call me a liar, but my interpretation of his reply implied it. I stated:

    I have first-hand experience (before and after) and concur with the findings in the ATA report.

    And BilB responded with:

    …is under informed and functionally incorrect.

    To me, “my first-hand experience” is “functionally incorrect” implies lying, per BilBs statement. Are you, Ambigulous, just making excuses for BilBs behaviour?

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