by TONY MOBILIFONITIS
AUSTRALIA’S new federal Labor government has been struck with a reality bug. According to the new Resources Minister Madeleine King, coal-fired power plants need to come back online to provide relief from the energy crisis gripping the east coast.
This after Labor, the Greens and Teals ran their election campaign on “combatting the climate crisis”, “ending the climate wars” (no more debate on the climate change theory) and “transitioning to renewables”. Greens leader “Adam Bandit” even threatened not to support the government unless they pledge to stop all coal and gas developments. Bandt is a fool and yes, a bandit intent on impoverishing the Aussie economy by shutting down its major energy sources.
Bandt’s most recent contribution to the issue was this Tweet: “Gas corporations are holding us ransom. Gifting an essential service to big corporations has left us facing soaring prices just to keep the power on. We need a publicly-owned big build of solar, wind, batteries & storage. Starting right now.”
Bandt sees part of the problem but his solution is wishful thinking. Does he really think batteries like the one in South Australia are a solution to an energy crisis? That 150m/W battery provides a full-power electricity supply for a whole hour. It’s only advantages are that it fires up very quickly and can avert unexpected blackouts.
South Australia gets 800MW of electricity from gas, 210MW from its large-scale wind and solar farms and 600MW from rooftop solar panels.
Meanwhile Minister King threw out the surprise appeal a few days before a meeting of Commonwealth, state and territory energy ministers on June 8th to discuss the soaring gas and coal prices, brought about by the war in Ukraine and the idiotic US and EU attempts to punish Vladimir Putin by strangling their own gas and oil supplies from Russia.
But this war-driven energy crisis is not the first one. Back in the early 1970s there was one, driven by OPEC countries cutting production during the fourth Arab-Israeli war. OPEC was trying to force an Israeli withdrawal from Arab-Palestinian lands.
They were also trying to exercise some control over the Anglo-American oil cartel, which produced about 50% of petroleum in western countries in 1972 and controlled 85-90% of oil exports from developing countries. This same oil cartel funded the first Earth Day in 1970, thereby popularising the global environmental/population control movement with its central message of restricting use of resources i.e. creating more government and big corporate control over resources.
The cartel generated its huge profits from the difference between monopoly-driven low prices that oil was purchased at from developing exporter countries and relatively high petroleum product prices in importing countries. In other words, big business and geopolitical factors drove the “crisis”, not an actual shortage of energy.
And so it is now with the same old Anglo-EU-US business and political cartel, this time running a war against Russia, who they see as a threat to their desired unipolar world order with its US dollar reserve currency. Russia is directly challenging that state of affairs by trying to lay claim to Ukraine by force.
Another factor is the drive by globalists (primarily the World Economic Forum) to force the entire planet into a “great reset” or new world order. Their narrative employs the bogus climate scare campaign and the so-called transition to renewables. This transition demands the demonization of fossil fuels, which are relatively easy to extract and highly efficient because of their vastly higher energy density.
The globalists’ grand plan is to electrify or convert to hydrogen all transport while taking control of and limiting energy production in the name of “sustainability”. But the harsh reality, as pointed out by Scottish academic Robert Wilson PhD: “…90% of the planet’s 200 largest cities almost certainly cannot be powered predominantly by local renewable energy.”
Advocates of renewable energy like the Australia Institute repeatedly claim that renewables are now comparable or cheaper than fossil fuel electricity. But that only applies on sunny days and windy conditions. Coal, gas or oil-fired power stations produce electricity on demand for peak use periods, not when the weather suits.
Dr Wilson: “In fact, on the scale of most countries aggregate wind farm output can be assumed to have almost zero reliability. In this sense, every wind farm must have a fossil fuel power plant sitting in wait for when the wind does not blow.” He continues: “The lesson is reasonably clear; Britain and Germany’s aggregate wind farm output can be expected to go below 1% of total installed capacity with reasonable regularity.”
Solar is not much better, even if it does have a higher power density than windmill power. “Commercial solar photovoltaic panels typically average between 10 and 15% efficiency,” Dr Wilson notes.
The key factor separating fossil fuels from wind, solar and biofuels is power density, as expressed in Watts per square metre (W/m2). Wilson notes that typical generation of fossil fuel and nuclear electricity has a power density of at least an order of magnitude greater than that of renewable energy.
“Power densities are comfortably above 100W/m2 after accounting for mining etc. And conventional power plants often have power densites in excess of 1000/m2.” He cites the example of a small propane powered generator (3500W) which can be bought at a hardware store for a few hundred dollars. It provides in excess of 1000W/m2, which is far in excess of the power density of any conceivable new method of generating renewable energy.
These physical economic realities are behind why the people who advise Australia’s Energy Minister suddenly saw the writing on the wall. No, renewables, although useful, do not have the ability to meet those peak demand periods such as the current polar weather across much of Australia.
Minister King told the ABC that outages of coal-fired power represented 30% of the Australian energy mix and operators needed “to get moving on fixing their plants right now.”
Former energy minister Angus Taylor told the ABC Australia had seen record levels of investment in household solar and renewables more generally and the highest levels of household solar in the world. But that solar power supply had to be matched with dispatchability which is why gas was crucial to balance the grid.
The Western Australia government policy reserves 15 per cent of gas produced in the state for local consumption, which reportedly has spared WA from soaring gas prices.
“The gas reservation policy of Western Australia was a very great political struggle to introduce, it was very hard on the then state Labor government, and a lot of people lost a lot of political skin in that fight,” King said.
“It was also part of the design of the export industry — so it came in at the same time, and was also part of, the investment decisions of international investors into the WA gas production system. That kind of system is very hard to reverse engineer now on the east coast, [the] export market was developed without that in place, investment decisions were made without that restriction.”
So what is the lesson to be learned? Obviously we need national reserves of fossil fuel and probably another coal-fired power station to replace the one shut down by the lefty Labor loonies in Victoria and the one demolished in South Australia. Renewables should be seen as the stand-in source of power and made to work in tandem with the national grid, not against it.
And if you’re lucky enough to live on a sunny, windy property next to a creek, then good luck with your mini-hydro, solar panels and windmill.