Doomed Planet

Painting the Near Future in Blackouts and Green

The other day Chris Bowen, minister for a contradiction in terms (namely, climate change and energy), stood on the Gippsland shores surveying Bass Strait, imagining offshore wind turbines so far as his eyes could see. And, following Die Hard‘s Hans Gruber’s take on Alexander the Great, when he saw the breadth of his domain, he wept, for soon there would be no more fossil fuels left to axe. Poetic embellishment aside, that pretty well sums up the single-minded maniacal intent of Australian governments, federal and state, to entirely replace power sources which are reliable, constant and dense with those which are unreliable, intermittent and diffuse. What could possibly go wrong?

At this festive time, the new year beginning, it is salutary to recall the grand schemes in train to rob us of the energy security that our fathers and, for some, grandfathers took for granted. I know my dad had confidence when he switched on the lights that they would indeed come on. His only concern was that his two children, including me, tended to leave them on when leaving the room.

Where to start. Best I think with the AEMO’s assessment that we will need nine times the number of wind turbines we have managed to construct in the last thirty years and more, and nine times the number of solar farms, and five times the number of rooftop solar panels with attendant battery storage, to achieve the Panglossian goal of net zero in the next twenty-eight years. Where will the turbines and solar farms be placed? Apparently, mostly in still-be-to-designated renewal energy zones, including offshore zones.

It’s pie-in-the-sky of course. Neither the manpower nor materials will be available. For example, does Bowen know where the special ships will be sourced to plant turbines in the sea? Reportedly, there is a world-wide shortage. Has account been taken of incipient objections to offshore wind farms by fisheries and wild-life aficionados? Has he assessed the increasing environmental (NIMBY-style) objections to onshore wind and solar farms. It’s a delicious irony that environmental lawfare will be coming for renewables. Then there’s the transmission infrastructure, and the environmentalists don’t like that either as it traverses pristine landscapes; disturbing the habitats of our wonderful native species.

AEMO again. It estimates that 13,200 kms of high-voltage transmission lines will be required to interconnect the National Electricity Market – the South Eastern grid. How many large ugly pylons does that require? I don’t know; maybe 30,000 or so. Most of them to be built on cleared landscapes or on someone’s land. Imagine how much pain and cost that will entail. Expect governments to eventually force landowners into compliance as reliable power sources are abandoned and demolished and the promise of a clean-energy utopia turns sour. That will be just one facet of the dystopia to come – an inevitable outcome of governments turning to the tenets of socialism in order to impose hardships on their subjects-cum-vassals.

Take the recent imposition of a twelve-month price cap on natural gas with the accompanying portent of regulations to ensure producers charge “reasonable” prices in the future. Straight out of the communist Eastern European playbook. It’s just one sign of things to come. Best to remember that capitalism, freedom and prosperity occupy a small part of human history. Socialism and tyranny are always in the wings. This climate scam, to which sadly most of the Australian population are willing fellow travellers, is a gangplank to the dark side.

If you think 13,200 kms of transmission lines is a pipedream, how about 28,000 kms. This, according to AEMO, will be required if Australia becomes a “green hydrogen superpower.”  At this point pipedreams becomes so stretched that words fail. Fools’ paradises will have to do. Take the planned green-hydrogen project northeast of Port Headland, the Asian Renewable Energy Hub. A 26GW project designed to produce ammonia from green hydrogen for export around the world. Envisaged is 6,500 square kilometres of wind turbines and solar panels, a desalination plant to produce sufficient pure water to support electrolysers on a vast industrial scale, supplemented with an industrial process to convert the hydrogen produced to ammonia, for safer transport. Now imagine many such implausible schemes to fulfill Australia’s destiny of supplying green hydrogen to the world. World domination, no less. Move over Fu Manchu.

All the while, as scheming to blanket the country with renewable energy moves way ahead of practicality and reality, actual reliable base-load power sources are being decommissioned and demolished. Liddell next year, Eraring in 2025, Yallourn in 2028, Loy Yang A in 2035; and, bet your life, more closures will be brought forward. Australia will run out of power. Blackouts will ensue. Don’t worry governments have smart meters up their sleeve.  These will become compulsory. They will allow the powers that be to monitor your electricity usage and to cut off those whose social credit score is not up to scratch. In renewable-energy newspeak, it’s called demand management. You’ll find it in the AEMO report.

Oh, this will never happen, some might say. What, the same healthy people who obediently complied with orders to stay at home because of a mild pandemic that seriously affected only the old and sick. Governments learnt a lesson from that. They now know what servile sheep their populations are. Just waiting, wanting, to be told what to do. Please keep us masked, isolated and jabbed repeatedly with experimental vaccines.

Finally, to cap it off, as it were, we have the so-called Capacity Mechanism, which is supposed to bridge the transition from reliable fossil-fuel power to unreliable wind and sun power. The Energy Security Board (ESB) stupidly thought that gas and coal would play a part. After a good thrashing for being heretical, the ESB lost carriage of the Capacity Mechanism (in August). Now it’s with the states which, in Monty Pythonesque style, think that unreliable wind and sun should either be firmed with unreliable wind and sun, or with sources of power like batteries which are seriously inadequate, or with not-yet-built pumped hydro, or with not-yet-invented affordable green hydrogen. Weep, for we are in the hands of idiots who will turn despotic when their crackpot plans unravel.

Sorry, forgot. There’s the forecast, commissioned by Labor from RepuTex Energy – you know the crowd that projected electricity prices would fall by $275 by 2025 – which has 3.8 million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road by 2030 and 3.8 million households with EV charging points. Yes, those in charge are idiots. But, really, can they not do simple arithmetic? My back-of-the envelope calculation shows (explained here) that EV sales would need to form about 37 percent of all new car sales each year from now until 2030 to reach 3.8 million. As it stands, the Electric Vehicle Council reported in October 2022 that just 3.4 percent of new car sales are EVs. It’s good job. As I understand it, electricity is required to run EVs. And that will soon become a scare commodity. Store up candles, woolly underwear.

31 thoughts on “Painting the Near Future in Blackouts and Green

  • bobmbell39 says:

    As Professor Ian Plimer has frequently pointed out there is still no scientific proof that man-made co2 causes significant warming. We are still coming out of the little ice age and warming is to be expected. Increasing levels of the evil plant food have according to NASA greened up the planet by 15%. All sounds good to me. Lets have more fossil fuel powered electricity.

  • ianl says:

    >” … Electric Vehicle Council reported in October 2002″ [typo from the article here. Should be October 2022]. Still ,less than 4% of all new vehicles sold in Australia are EV’s. The EVC of course claims that this is due to the small number of EV brands available; rather, it is because these vehicles are useless beyond small trips in inner cities. Imagine: you wish to travel from Sydney to Melbourne, using the Hume (about an 8-9 hour journey in an ICE car, with several short stops for fuel and comfort); you have two adults and two children and luggage (weight); it’s winter (cold, so car heater); it’s raining most of the way (so wipers and air con to dehumidify); it’s dark (so lights); to keep children semi-distracted, you play CD’s or MP3’s on the car radio system …and you still think you’ll make it ?

    Naturally the EV activists will simply ignore this, or claim as they usually do that only a *small* number of people will be affected. So much for those who do not live in the cities. EV activists do not even acknowledge their existence.

    The “smart” meters are meant to enable rationing of power – this is their prime purpose. Our authorities know we know this, which is why compulsion will be, and need to be, deployed. Currently, under rule 59A of the National Energy Retail Rules, we have the right to refuse to allow installation of “smart” meters – this rule 59A is under removal, mainly through domestic power suppliers removing the opt-out clause in your supply contract with bureaucratic approval. The point of rationing has been obvious for a decade now – “renewabubbles” cannot cut it, nor are they meant to.

    We, some part of the population, know this is destructively insane. Yet the powerlust of those self-defined “elites” has depth to the point where it is believed we can be managed without excessive bloodshed and rioting. These people really believe that. What beggars my imagination is how this depth of vanity can actually develop. As an example, the Nepean Flood Plains formed geologically about 35 million years ago, and while the Upper Nepean River has changed its’ course many times, the floods still regularly covered the lower plains – but activist vanity insists that human sin has done this just in the last 50 years. How is that even vaguely believable ?

  • Daffy says:

    I’m wondering how may dinner parties the ‘smart’ meters will permit. How many loads in the washing machine, how many hours of dryer use? How many times can we boil the kettle for a cup of? How many times could one charge the electric car, mower, whipper-snipper, cordless drill?

    I can see folks with larger than permitted gardens being turned off just before dinner time; I can see people with disabled fellow occupants being switched off just before afternoon tea time. Will there be an exemption for those with health conditions that entail higher power use?

    With no fossil fuels, whence the feed stock for medical plastics?

    Of course, none of this matters for displayers of hollow virtue.

  • Biggles says:

    I call Chris Bowen the Minister For Energy Poverty. Once again, I quote Admiral Hyman Rickover, Father of the U.S. nuclear submarine fleet, ‘A reduction in per-capita energy consumption has always in the past led to a decline in civilisation and a reversion to a more primitive way of life’.

    The current severe northern hemisphere winter, (carefully under-reported by our MSM), is but a taste of things to come over the next thirty years because of the grand solar minimum.

  • brandee says:

    Another logical detailed analysis by Peter with multiple good references [only the forensic Tony Thomas surpasses with similarly expansive references].
    The conservatives can oppose this intermittent renewables nonsense with a slogan BACK NUCLEAR SCIENCE. It is ‘nuclear science’ that can be used to generate steam to power the turbines in the mandated redundancy of coal firing at Loy Yang, and also at Liddel and Eraring if these latter are left in operation for a bridging decade.
    If orders are soon placed for SMRs they could be operating in a decade. Also, conservatives need to be seen in discussion with the French about ‘nuclear science’ power generation being quite compatible with horticulture in vineyard regions.

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    I cannot see the Australian people standing by meekly for another run at the Covid sort of treatment. The left climate loonies may blow up Liddel but I doubt if they will get much further after that when we get an effective ‘lockdown’ on our activities that are power-dependent. Brandee’s suggestion of a push to ‘Back Nuclear Science’ might do for the interim period, while there are still a lot of true climate believers around in the voting populations.
    That wouldn’t hurt, as small nuclear installation could fit well into the grid and the general mix.

    Those transmission lines won’t be built in any sort of timely fashion. Events will overtake them.

  • Andrew Campbell says:

    And us off grid folk are enjoying every moment … no way! I’ve just spent $17,000 on a new set of batteries for my ten year old system. But I have to run a generator with those evil fossil fuels for three hours every day. The reason is that the new batteries have upset my computer driven inverter/charger/regulator and my local solar guy doesn’t yet know how to fix it. I service my own vehicles and can fix most things, but this is beyond me. Off grid is only for the mechanically and electrically and computer proficient – and it would be good to have a bit of money as well.

    • gareththomassport says:

      Sad to hear that Andrew.
      My system is just coming up to 10 years and no problems as yet, though who knows how much longer my 24 Pb batteries have left
      Great article also Peter.
      I despair regularly when my professional colleagues and educated “friends” outsource their entire cognitive function to the ABC. Tertiary qualifications do not immunised against Net Zero intellectual capacity.

  • March says:

    Last to leave turn the light out. Oh, forget it.

  • Alice Thermopolis says:

    PS: “Straight out of the communist Eastern European playbook. It’s just one sign of things to come. ….Socialism and tyranny are always in the wings. This climate scam, to which sadly most of the Australian population are willing fellow travellers, is a gangplank to the dark side.”
    Agreed. CC has been cunningly weaponised by the political classes and international agencies to achieve other objectives. It’s now so deeply ideological that AMEO and many other groups can get away with not even mentioning how and when its mad schemes are supposed to modify Australia’s climate.
    Furthermore, of course, we will increase our dependence on China for our energy infrastructure (wind turbines, solar panels) as the EU was/is to energy sourced from Russia.

  • Peter OBrien says:

    Nice summary, Peter. I am currently cruising in New Zealand and was told by one of our dining companions that her friend in Vienna has just bought a wood stove because she can’t afford/get gas and it will be only sufficient to heat one room. Stories like these abound.
    And I recently installed solar with the ultimate intention of getting a battery to protect me from the inevitable blackouts that you predict. However, I have since learned that AEMO’s master plan involves taking power from my battery whenever they need it. So, to avoid this, I would have to disconnect my solar and go completely off-grid.
    Bowen will turn out to be the worst minister in Australian history, if he isn’t already there.

  • Katzenjammer says:

    But why? Who gains from all this? Those in charge today won’t be in charge when it’s all accomplished.

  • call it out says:

    Just two weeks ago the SA Premier boasted that SA had been powered by renewables for the previous week.
    Since then, SA has been reliant on gas and Vic brown coal, on most days (AEMO dashboard) , to keep the lights on.

    Premier, can we have you back on the media to announce this, please?

  • Lawrie Ayres says:

    At the risk of being called a conspiracy nut I have been telling all that would listen that the CO2 scare is a deliberate ploy by the communists to destroy the West and they are succeeding beyond their wildest dreams. They could not defeat the West with bombs and bullets although they tried in Korea and Vietnam and many smaller skirmishes particularly in the Middle East so with the fall of the USSR they turned to the environment. Merkel is from East Germany and is responsible for the energy disaster that is West Germany. She was? still is a communist. The EU is communist in concept and reality consisting of bureaucrats rather than elected representatives. There is nothing democratic about the EU. The Marxists have marched through academe and now control it in thought and deed. Academe were behind the lies of global warming and stupid, scientifically illiterate politicians climbed on board. Even a usually sanguine John Howard crumpled when he should have stood strong. Morrison used the false flag of ESG to claim he had to adopt Net Zero. Strange how coal and gas are deplored but resource companies have done extremely well for the past two years. The woke super funds have been losing wealth ( The Australian 28/12/22) while SMSF who stayed with coal and gas have done very well.

    The Coalition urgently needs to change course on Net Zero and fossil fuels and support both. Within a few years Blackout Bowen will be retiring in disgrace and SE Australia will be having rolling blackouts. Sane people will be praying for coal fired electricity. The Coalition could be a winner but it will need a spine first and therein lies the problem.

    • Botswana O'Hooligan says:

      Don’t think that you are a conspiracy theorist Lawrie for the truth is probably closer to the observation of the callow youths in the poem entitled –The man from Iron bark– their heads are flat, their eyes are dull, they have no brains at all! Politicians, their advisers, and bureaucrats in general have given us a demonstration of their competence over the past couple of years (Covid mismanagement) and one thinks that were their brains to consist of gelignite there wouldn’t be enough explosive therein to blow the wax from their ears. My life until about age 14 was without electricity, running water, sanitation, with kero or acetylene gas lights (carbide) and a pretty basic kero fridge. No electricity was a given and everyone allowed for that but our future of intermittent electricity at best is far worse for our World depends on a constant supply of electricity for everything and one cannot live with that. Do I buy food than might go bad without refrigeration, what about water, about sanitation, trains, telecommunications. “They” those at the helm haven’t thought this through and mustn’t be able to read or comprehend the plight Western Europe and the UK are in and it is against the law these days to tar and feather “They.”

    • Citizen Kane says:

      A political Trojan horse based on emotive manipulation. Always was, always will be.

  • Rafe Champion says:

    What is so wonderful about our native species?

    • STD says:

      Two points.
      Our capacity to deceive (lie) which no other living species possesses.
      As far as I can see, we are the only species of living thing that has the potential and the ability to deviate from created natural order – weird no other living thing contradicts the laws of the nativity (creativity – innocence- being) ……..
      And our connection to original sin, stupidity, this knows no limit and seems to me to be an eternal trait peculiar to human beings.
      And as far as I can see we love differently.
      To my way of thinking the trait of mercy which is graced to us from God (not of natural being),( no other living thing requires this in its evolutionary sequencing) is the DNA equivalence that keeps love in the evolutionary sense alive. This is peculiar to human beings – without mercy at our core, love cannot be sustained.
      In short we have the ability to hope ,this I believe is one thing that reconciles us to our spiritual being( awakening you might say).
      I do not trust myself on this ………but I do trust the truth to deliver me from my lack of understanding .

  • Dallas Beaufort says:

    Australian politics, the Academe and it’s media junky’s have adopted the Net Zero agenda of Creative destruction, Even China is not that stupid as to destroy it’s industrial base, let alone their people, All the wooly underwear and candles are made their, Not here.

  • pgang says:

    Soon to close Liddell power station: 2,000MW output
    51% capacity (although capable of operating considerably higher as required)
    50 year life
    Total power produced: 446,760,000 MWh
    Windmills required to replace Liddell: 2.5 MW output
    25% capacity (probably less but let’s be generous)
    15 year life
    Total power produced: 82,125 MWh
    Windmills required to replace Liddell over a fifty year life span: 5,440
    Cost of windmill: $3M
    Total replacement cost of Liddell: $16,320M ($16.3 billion)
    Annual maintenance cost per windmill: $45k (yeah, sure, and pigs fly)
    Approximate number of windmills operating per annum: 2,133
    Total annual maintenance cost: $96M
    50 year maintenance cost: $4,800M ($4.8 billion)

    Cost of replacing Liddell with another coal power station: $6,500 per kW (the highest estimate I could find) = $13,000M ($13 billion)
    That last number I actually believe in this age of profligacy. However, one of the most notable findings from this brief online search was the thoroughly green-washed, propagandistic nature of the internet. Everything to do with coal was founded in negativity and CO2 emissions. On the other hand, anything to do with intermittent energy was golden and happy – and mostly lies.
    I didn’t even bother looking up capacity figures for windmills because I knew it would be a fabrication. I’m guessing it is in reality something like 10 – 15%, because capacity accounts for energy actually pushed into the grid and used, which is why Liddell only averages 51%.

    The claim of $2-4m to build a windmill is laughable. This is possibly the private cost to energy companies based on the European experience where the cost is subsidised by about 70%, so we can assume the actual cost is about $10M. Even that figure I struggle with, although if we make a USD/AUD conversion it comes to about $15M.

    If we plug in 15% capacity and $15M to build, we end up with 9,000 windmills required at a replacement cost of $135,000M ($135 billion). To replace one genuine power station. And who knows what maintenance costs and other costs to make it work. All of which will still require 100% backup.

    • Mike O'Ceirin says:

      I am not a supporter of wind turbines but since you mention a number of times there I thought I had better comment. I have a website and it has behind it the data from the AEMO for the past 12 years. Looking at that data you will find on average wind supplies about 29% of its capacity. In order to replace coal with wind you must have something that behaves the same that is baseload power. Wind is just not that and has droughts frequently and that is the problem.

      • pgang says:

        29% doesn’t seem plausible given that Liddell operates at 51%, yet is running every hour of the year. Many wind farms you see hardly seem to turn at all, and that’s during the day when energy is most required. I wonder if they are using a fudged calculation for windmill capacity compared with Liddell’s figures. They seem to provide pure output figures, but I wonder if that is actually accessible energy. Perhaps they turn 29% of the time, but are they running at 100% name-plate capacity when they are turning, and is that energy being consumed?
        Also, given that wind power gets first use by political edict, we can expect its numbers to be inflated somewhat. However, as the number of windmills increases their utilisation will necessarily decrease due to scale, and that number (real or no) would drop significantly. For example, if Liddell were the only power station available its capacity figures would be much higher.
        My analysis was very simplistic, presented just to paint a cost picture in support of Peter’s article. However I do think that this replacement scenario is something that is not being examined closely enough, and it has the advantage of demonstrating the true effectiveness of fossil fuel based energy supply. A true cost/capacity constraint analysis would require a time series comparing demand with supply (has that been done?). Over-supply is not free, as it effectively reduces overall capacity figures.

      • pgang says:

        At 29% capacity you would need a mere 4,690 windmills over 50 years. At $15M a piece that’s $70.3 billion.

  • Peter Marriott says:

    Thanks Peter, a good piece.
    In relation to wind turbines I read that their rated output is at 30mph ( 48 kph ) and it reduces in cube terms, i.e. 15 mph output is one half cubed, meaning only one eighth output, 0.5 x 0.5 x 0.5 = 0.125 and so on.

  • Ian Willis says:

    There is obviously a huge amount of data that shows how difficult (that is, impossible) it will be for Australia to reach Net Zero in 2050, let alone the insane 2030 Bowen timetable. We are indeed headed for blackouts and “demand management” as the functioning coal power stations are shut down, and probably blown up with premiers and prime ministers lining up for a photo op.
    However, as Associate Professor Simon Michaux from the Finland Geological Survey and Queensland Uni’s Sustainable Minerals Institute shows at this link, the volume of minerals and mines required to meet the western world’s 2050 suicide mission is a further nail in the coffin for the Net Zero fantasy. The link is to a YouTube clip and it’s dense with data … the underlying report must be fascinating reading:

  • bomber49 says:

    I doubt if the unWOKE will put up with the hardship envisioned above; that’s assuming we haven’t become a police state. What I don’t get about the rusted on Greens is how they can tolerate the blot on the landscape created by wind farms that kill eagles and other predatory birds. I would rather pay more for electricity powered by nuclear (and that’s debatable) that does not impose on us pylons, power lines and dead fauna.

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