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 McCrann: Wind and solar can’t replace coal-fired power!

15.03.21.  “When I wrote last week about our utterly unworkable — if entirely woke — future, I most certainly did not anticipate we would in the coming week rush to get there some four years earlier. That is the simple bottom line of Energy Australia’s decision to close one of Australia’s biggest and most reliable power stations, Yallourn, in 2028 instead of the previously planned 2032. In a few words, goodbye Yallourn, hello brownouts and blackouts, at least for Victoria and South Australia. It’s certainly posing the question for NSW and Queensland, and, in a dry year, Tasmania as well. Ah, Tasmania, we on the mainland tend to forget about the Apple Isle — but not our Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, I might add, who wants to flood Devonport, Launceston and even Burnie with “northern foreigners”.

Source: Terry McCrann, News Corp

As I’ve been writing for about 15 or 20 years now, “when the wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine, the power don’t flow”; let me now add: “and when the rain don’t fall, the hydro don’t spin”.
Now, I’ve used the word “reliable” in the old-fashioned meaning of the word; that you can rely on it to do what power stations are supposed to do but these days is considered at least quaint if not positively gauche — you know, generate electricity.
Let me hasten to say I cannot in the least fault the logic and indeed the imperative of the EA decision. Indeed, if it was me, I’d probably be closing Yallourn in 2023 — to make it a grand two-fer with Liddell in NSW.
If it’s such a “great future” why not get there soonest?
In closing Yallourn — and, more pointedly, ceasing to spend the $300m-plus a year, or well over $1bn over those extra four years, to keep it “reliable” — EA is only doing what the “woke elites” and more potently the policy framework is instructing it to do. I even admire the honesty, so to speak, in its statement.
It’s closing Yallourn, which can generate 1500MW of electricity, pretty much 24/7 year-in and year-out — programmed time-outs and the odd mishap aside, not only when the wind ain’t blowing and the sun ain’t shining, even when it ain’t raining and even when it is — and replacing it with … the world’s biggest battery: all of 350MW of storage. Wouldn’t you like that in your smartphone! That was it; that’s what we’ll get to keep the lights on.
All those quaintly named “turbines” that pollute the landscape and slaughter birds will give you the rest.
Hmm? 1500MW hour-in, hour-out, 24/7 365 days a year, versus a 350MW battery that’s gone flat in four hours and looking for a real power source to recharge from?
The EA statement made an interesting contrast to what AGL came out with, back in 2017, when it announced the closure of Liddell.
AGL felt the obligation to at least pretend it could replace the power that Liddell had generated every year for 50 years.
And I quote from the AGL statement: “a mix of high-efficiency gas peakers, renewables, battery storage and demand response”.
Let me translate:
“Demand response” — you turn on that light switch, you get no light.
“Battery storage” — when the battery goes flat, you turn on that light switch, you get no light.
The only credible part of generation to replace 2000MW when Liddell closed was a 500MW gas plant. The “major” generation replacement was a joke — so-called 1600MW of renewables — which from day to day can be exactly zero at the whim of the wind and clouds.
In contrast, EA didn’t even bother with the pseudo-nonsense. We are turning off 24/7 1500MW and we are — very partially — replacing it with a big battery. When it goes flat, you better hope that the wind is blowing. Straight, simple, honest.
As I detailed last week, the central problem with wind (and solar) — problem? Like rendering them utterly and irredeemably useless, whether you’ve got 100 “turbines” or 10,000 or even 100,000 — is that they simply do not work.
On paper, Britain has wind-generating “capacity” to supply all its power at periods of off-peak national demand — some 26,000MW — and indeed, even close to two-thirds of the 40,000MW or so demanded at peak.
It of course never gets close — the most wind generates is around 13,000MW. But as I detailed, for two whole days the previous week wind was generating just 500MW to 800MW.
There is no way even 100 of EA’s big batteries could make up the difference for two days.
The lights in Britain would literally have gone off but for burning a lot of gas andtwo Yallourns of the phony renewable woodchips and nuclear and power cords into Europe and firing up an old coal-fired power station bigger than Yallourn.
That’s the central problem of an all-renewable future. You better have expensive alternatives on standby or prepare to turn the lights off.
The problem identified by EA, forcing it to close Yallourn, is the more insidious corrosion of when the wind does blow.
All that literally free — zero marginal cost — power comes flooding into the grid,temporarily forcing prices down, and driving out coal-fired power.
That would be fine, we would be into a Dark Green free lunch future, if it could be sustained. It can’t.
You cannot build enough batteries. Do we really want to have a whole shadow power generation industry which gets turned on when and only when the wind ain’t blowing?
It would be insane. But it’s even more insane to keep lurching into the future identified by EA — closing all the coal-fired power stations, with our ability to keep the lights on left blowing in the wind.
The very minimum that must be required of anyone wanting to feed wind or solar power into the grid is that they guarantee a minimum level of despatchable power 24/7 365 days a year.
Then you get closer to the true cost of “free” wind and solar.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Graham+Richards 15/03/2021, 5:57 am

    Unadulterated LOGIC is the last thing on the Federal Governments mind. If they can just last a couple more years the Market will have wiped out coal generation, the tipping point, the point of no return will have been reached
    & green unsustainable power will be in full swing. Lots of batteries but no means of charging them & the market will then be in a position to triple pricing as the consumers, commercial & domestic will not have any alternatives. Just ask the Californians, the Texans or even those geniuses who’ve ruined Germany!

    • Penguinite 15/03/2021, 7:40 am

      Totally agree GR! The Crann concept is so easily demonstrated too! Governments are too easily swayed by the fear of losing. The Australian psyche is so finely balanced between Democracy and Autocracy to provide sufficient Parliamentary manoeuvring room over the relatively short period between elections. Sadly, the low level of nous, in would-be politicians, we can’t afford to give them longer terms.

  • luk1955 15/03/2021, 7:53 am

    Terry does not see the real problem. May be his masters won’t let him. And that is the depopulation of the planet by the Rothschilds, Rockefellers, and the bill gates foundations who want 95% of us gone, and chipping away at our power is the best way to go about this. We have our own deep state attacking the very people who have made this country as prosperous as it is by their hard work. By diverting our time and money into surviving power outages, we have no time to get involved with any kind of movement to stop this communist takeover of our governments. One can expect to see this from an economist, who is only focused on monetary numbers and not the sources of those numbers.

  • Ian 15/03/2021, 8:00 am

    Think about this. Wind is the main provider of green energy. And wind can have lulls that last up to seven days along the east coast of Australia.

    So what do we do… We allow a power station that produces 24/7 power to be dropped with no real replacement. This will result in a significant profit for all remaining generators. Remember, the generators are each paid the price of the most expensive bid supply that is consumed for the half hour bid period. Eg wind bids $5/MWHr, coal bids $10/MWHr and diesel bids $50/MWHr. If the current demand requires all three to be producing, then they all get the $50/MWHr payments, despite their lower bids.

    So think about that… without Yallourn, a low cost, high volume supplier, the more expensive bids which are usually not required will now become more in demand and hence raise the average price. A lot.

    For the battery, Yallourn produces a peak of 1500MW from its generators. The proposed battery can do 350MW but it can only do this for 4 hours before it is flat. So on those windless days, not only do you not have the same volume of power available but after 4 hours you have none from that site. Blind Freddy could model the outcome of this. For example. This morning, the entire wind production in the south east of Australia is currently providing 1600MW to the grid, around 20% of its nameplate volume. Not unusual for this time of year. If you drop Yallourn, the wind turbines can’t ramp up to meet the demand. The battery will be flat by lunch and then what……

    I despise anyone who thinks this is a solution.

    I propose an alternative. By 2025, all generators supplying the grid must bid for the supply of power on a continuous basis. eg be available to supply 24/7. That means that the wind turbines have to buy their own batteries. If the likely wind lull is 7 days, then they must buy batteries to cover 7 days or diesel generators and fuel to match. Solar must cover all night and for cloudy days, say 4 days storage.

    On that basis, watch the super critical coal fired generators be built and the power prices come down, (just as soon as this green scam is thrown to the bin).

    The alternative….. black outs.

    • DT 15/03/2021, 12:38 pm

      Ian maybe Australia could construct interconnectors to EU power stations like EU nations have to transfer energy as needed when inevitably wind and solar is well below baseload demand, which is most of the time.


      • Finn 15/03/2021, 11:50 pm

        And all renewable devices be manufactured ONLY with 100% certified renewable renewable energy. Killer! God I’m

  • Lorraine 15/03/2021, 9:43 am

    Tilley lamps will become the norm,,,,that is what I grew up with , and we had this you beaut pump up thing……… that generated more light so my Dad could read the paper in the evening, he went to work early…..We can ,become a 3rd world country with little kero burners to cook our meal. Most Asians are good with these and can set up shops to teach us all…..Greens believe in cave dwelling, we are getting there fast

  • wal1957 15/03/2021, 10:44 am

    “The very minimum that must be required of anyone wanting to feed wind or solar power into the grid is that they guarantee a minimum level of despatchable power 24/7 365 days a year.
    Then you get closer to the true cost of “free” wind and solar.”

    Hit the nail on the head!
    Any politicians listening?

  • DT 15/03/2021, 12:42 pm

    The story is of course about a former prime minister’s family business interests, but it is worth reading the background and collapse of a US wind business.

    And watch Australian wind and solar businesses and when the major shareholders sell out, as the assets reach end of operating life and replacement being too expensive, in short would wipe out operating profits after tax and including government/taxpayer subsidies for profit;


  • robp 15/03/2021, 3:42 pm

    I am an individual have put in measures to still have my house power during a black out or brown out phase loss, by having my own generator being able to connect to my house with a manual transfer switch….the problem when mains power is lost won’t be for me as an individual but society in a city or country town as a whole, who will determine which area of the population on which circuit will lose power? The local petrol station or train network, or supermarket, or business will suffer more than the individual, unable to serve their customers it is then the impact of no 24/7 power will be felt…and yes we will have power for a few hours a day just like a 3rd work country that we as the tax payer are funding other countries to have sustainable 24/7 power while we in Australia are going backwards.

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