Toothless Jackals of the Selectively Curious Press

When watching Sky News last Monday evening I saw a reporter frantically chasing Katy Gallagher across an airport plying her with accusative questions. Tell us why you’re lying, why don’t yah? Well, he didn’t put it quite in those terms, but that was the flavour. And he wouldn’t be fobbed off. He was persistent. I thought, this sums up the modern-day press. When the story is wrapped around prurient matters and who-knew-what-when, they are all over it. Did or didn’t Ms Gallagher mislead the Senate? Did she and another “mean girl” know more beforehand than they are letting on?

I’m interested, I suppose, in a second-order sort of way. That’s not to say the truth should not be teased or bludgeoned out. It’s simply a question of priorities. Call me news snob if you like, but some events are much more important than others. Currently, for instance, Chris Bowen is obsessively and messianically setting a course to bring Australia to ruination and he is doing so before our very eyes. That seems a tad more important to me.

I would like to see reporters running after Bowen. Armed with information (hmm, requires independently-minded research) and plying him with questions. Badgering him insistently as he walks across airport terminals with questions like this:

♦ How come, if renewable energy is cheaper, electricity is dearer in those countries with more renewable energy?

♦ What will fill the gap when the sun don’t shine and the wind don’t blow when 82 percent of our electricity is from renewables?

♦ Exactly how does a (big) battery which can supply, say, 2000 megawatts for one hour replace a coal power station which supplies 2000 megawatts 24×7?

♦ Are you happy, as apparently is former chief scientist Alan Finkel, to see Australia’s landscape blanketed with wind turbines and solar panel so far as the eye can see?

In 2021, 29 percent of Australia’s electricity came from renewables (hydro, biomass, solar and wind). Wide-eyed Bowen aims to turn that 29 percent into 82 percent by 2030. Of course that is completely and utterly delusional. Trying to get there will upend Australia’s energy system, producing untold pain – price rises, blackouts, loss of competitiveness; and, by no means least, hardship among the poor and deaths among the old and infirm.

This is Bowen’s flight of fancy towards abject misery: Installation of 22,000 [large] 500-watt solar panels every day for eight years plus 40 [very large] 7MW wind turbines every month – backed by at least 10,000 kilometres of additional transmission lines.

And he is buttressed internally by his “truth” that wind and sun provide the cheapest form of energy; which he repeats, as does his dear leader, at every opportunity. Never once have I seen this patently false assertion ever questioned by intrepid reporters. Bear in mind, George Costanza’s dictum, “it isn’t a lie if you believe it.” Well, Bowen most definitely believes it and the acquiescence of the press no doubt reinforces that delusional belief. Bowen and the press, clasped as one, in a danse macabre. Taking us with them. Let’s take stock before willingly plunging into the abyss.

Exactly where are we after three decades and more of saving the planet? Billions have been spent on subsidies and tax breaks. Landscapes have been dotted and despoiled with totems to the new climate religious cult. Yet, official figures for the year 2020-21 show that coal, oil and gas accounted for 92 percent of Australia’s total energy consumption. Energy badged as renewable accounted for only 8 percent; and of that wind and solar was only 45 percent, or 3.6 percent of the total. That figure won’t have changed much in the last two years.

Glacial “progress” has been made. That, in fact, is critical to appreciate. It explains why we have survived intact thus far with only a few glitches. Sun and wind energy is survivable in small quantities. Coal and gas power fills the breach, often shipped interstate, when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. Now, leaving reason behind, assume that Bowen and his maniacal state counterparts manage to destroy only half as many coal power stations as they currently intend, and take a rounded 3,800 megawatts (about 16 percent of the total) out of commission by 2030, and install only half as many wind turbines and solar panels as they plan.

To wit, 55 percent [29 + ½ (82-29)] of electricity would be now coming from renewals, with wind and sun adding an extra 26 percentage points to the current 29 percent. How much power is that 26 percentage points? Australia consumed 266 TWh in 2020-21. Twenty-six percent of that is 69 TWh. Rounded, that is close to an additional 8,000 megawatts from the wind and sun each hour on top of the current 6,700 megawatts per hour (on average remember – these are intermittent sources). At the same time 3,800 megawatts per hour of reliable 24×7 base-load coal power has been disappeared.

Well, that’s fine, surely? Says simplistic Simon. Out comes 3,800 MW of coal; in comes 8,000 MW of wind and sun. An inability to comprehend simple statistics and the difference between an average and the variability around it is a positive boon to the true believers in renewable energy. But we realists, who can handle numbers, are not fooled. And neither is real life.

Imagine a wind drought across the eastern seaboard, which is common enough; imagine, to boot, a cloudy day not to mention evenings, nights, and dawns.  An awful lot of that total of 14,700 (8,000 + 6,700) megawattage of wind and sun drops out. And there is significantly less coal power to fill the breach. Now double the figures by assuming Bowen achieves his goal. Yes, you’re right, it is phantasmagorical.

There’s a tipping point at play. Where exactly it is we don’t know. But it’s getting close. As intermittent power increases and reliable power decreases, comes “the wet-ass hour”[1] when there ain’t no sun, their ain’t no wind and coal is in short supply. Need bigger gas wells.

[1] Al Pacino as Detective Frank Keller in Sea of Love.

9 thoughts on “Toothless Jackals of the Selectively Curious Press

  • Stephen Due says:

    Chris Bowen is the Minister for Climate Change and Energy. The order is significant. Climate change is something upon which no Australia government policy or program can possibly have any measurable effect. He might as well be the Minister for Interstellar Travel, or the Minister for Moonlight. Energy comes in second, but this is where Bowen can have real influence – sadly.
    It evidently has not occurred to the advocates of Medieval energy infrastructure that one of the results of their policy is the destruction of Australia’s manufacturing industry. Oblivious to this, they are now getting to work on agriculture. Meanwhile our coal exports are helping the Chinese build plenty of highly productive coal-fired power stations. My guess is that there is no Chinese Minister for Climate Change.

  • Rossini says:

    The Chinese probably aren’t aware of this thing called climate change!

  • Tony Tea says:

    Here’s the recent energy mix: “Fossil fuels contributed 71% of total electricity generation in 2021, including coal (51%), gas (18%) and oil (2%).” I tell my students that even if we could replace that 71% (down from 81% in around 20 years – you do the projections) with a like-for-like amount of solar and wind, neither provide synchronous a.c. power and system inertia and 24-hour power, so the system would need to be supported by a ruinously expensive and electrically problematic fleet of electro-magnetic synchronous devices to deliver the necessary inductive grunt to run the many millions of electric motors, transformers and assorted electro-magnetic devices. If we, as alleged, also need to build 10,000km of transmission lines, we will need the synchronous inertia to control the capacitive load characteristic of power lines. It’s looking to me more and more like we should have saved the money we are spending on renewables, renewable support and lines, and instead invested in the initially expensive but comparatively cheaper nuclear option; especially if we had placed said nuclear plants where the decommissioned coal-fired plants are, and spent the saved money on research. According to the zealots, renewables are expensive up front but almost free thereafter. This would appear fanciful. Renewables look to be extravagantly expensive up front, not cheap thereafter and, of course, don’t work all the time.


    “I would like to see reporters running after Bowen. Armed with information (hmm, requires independently-minded research) and plying him with questions.”
    One possible reason that those four pertinent questions that follow this remark will never be asked of the incumbent minister in question is that the legacy media have had their services lubricated by forces higher up in the world of totalitarian control. These media are free to report on gossipy distractions whilst the real action, the silent war against our freedoms and wellbeing, is being waged behind our cognition as our attention is constantly diverted by tripey media coverage of tantalizing tales of chicanery.

  • Ceres says:

    MSM have been brainwashed by leftie education and their emotional gene and job promotion trumps logic and rational thought. So they and all the ‘biggies’ like corporations, judiciary and so on kowtow and vocally support the deliberate destabilisation and demoralisation by Labor. Love to know why as blind Freddy can see what’s coming. Australia an energy power house of coal, gas and uranium. Sentenced to third world status unless these cretinous midgets are ousted

    • Lawrie Ayres says:

      You are correct, I am convinced. I do believe that Albo has two albatrosses around his neck and he shot both of them himself. The first is the Voice which is going to fail as it should. The second is the renewable madness that could not survive a concerted attack. It surprises me why Dutton is not pursuing Bowen with vigour and figures. If Dutton won’t why would a journalist?

  • Lawrie Ayres says:

    Some journalist did ask Bowen a question a few days ago along the lines of ” people are struggling with energy prices what can they do?”. Bowen’s reply was “use less energy”. Moron came to mind.

  • pgang says:

    I suspect many journalists would love to ask questions but their editors won’t allow it, because their bosses won’t allow it. I guess they either keep silent or find a new profession.
    As far as the Higgins saga goes, I haven’t been following, but it’s fascinating how the narrative has suddenly turned against Liberal Senator Van instead. What a remarkable coincidence of timing. Brittany who?

Leave a Reply