Energy prices on the rise? Coal and gas prices to blame?
Governments running for cover!
Coal is abundant in Australia and should be cheap, but new mines or mine extensions are held up with green tape.
Think about Queensland Labor's refusal to extend the New Acland mine this year. Think about Victorian Labor's refusal to allow gas production.
With the Ukraine war restricting Russian gas and coal, Europe has forced coal and gas to record prices, and now our power bills reflect Europe's renewable fantasies.
Before we decide as a nation that we are going to commit energy suicide, let us put ideology aside for a moment and look at cold, hard facts. The wind does not always blow. The myth that the wind is always blowing somewhere is simply not true.
We were holidaying in wind-powered South Australia.
On Saturday, May 28, SA wind farms averaged only very low performance all day, dropping at 10.55pm to only 9.6 per cent of capacity.
I know statistics are boring, but when are we going to face facts?
That Saturday, SA's wind farm average performance peaked at just 15.4 per cent at 1.25pm.
The wind does not always blow. The myth that the wind is always blowing somewhere is simply not true.
If you worked an average of 15.4 per cent of the time, how long would you keep your job? Would the company employ several more 15.4 per-centers to get the job done? The company would go broke.
So, perhaps I should point to South Australia's budgetry position.
South Australia boasts about its green status, but it doesn't boast about jobs and prosperity.
The newly elected SA Labor government is facing a $33.8billion total government sector debt at a time of rising interest rates and inflation. Treasury predicts this figure will reach $65bn by 2035 if spending runs unchecked.
All governments, including the Liberal federal government, ran up huge debts during COVID, but the public needs to know that we can get out of this mess. Unreliable, costly power is not going to attract industry or enterprise.
South Australia's industries have closed. SA cannot economically survive simply by staging festivals. Maybe the leadership thinks that Adelaide doesn't need more than 9.6 per cent of available power on a Saturday night - but where would Adelaide's festival reputation be if the lights went out altogether?
Don't be silly, I hear you say. Adelaide has a big battery that could keep the (emergency) lights on for about 15 minutes! And gas peaking generation to ensure that the power stays on, at least for essentials such as hospitals and trains.
But can South Australians be guaranteed that wind will provide enough power for heating this winter? For chronically ill people, lack of heating could mean life or death.
We passed the Hallett Wind Farm near Burra early on Sunday morning. Most turbines appeared to be active, so I checked Hallett's statistics from the day before. Hallett1 had topped SA's wind performance on Saturday, peaking at 89.8 per cent of its stated capacity at 2pm.
Then, if ever there was an illustration of the unreliability of wind, Hallett1 on Saturday at 10.55pm was producing only 0.3 per cent - almost nothing.
Sometimes the wind isn't blowing at all. Later on Sunday, we passed the Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park (PAREP), a combined wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) hybrid project. At 2pm, not a single blade was turning. Not one!
In contrast, later that Sunday night, SA experienced devastating winds, which then hit Victoria and NSW!
PAREP is designed to provide predictable power more uniformly across the day, with 50 wind turbines and 250,000 solar modules. PAREP is 100 per cent owned by Iberdrola Renewables Australia, a Spanish company.
Green jobs? During construction, PAREP created 200 jobs, but it is a fair bet that few of the skilled jobs went to Port Augusta workers. The website says operation commenced in 2021. It will now need just 20 full-time workers.
Everyone would like to have free energy from the wind and sun. But if it is free, why does the government need to pay such huge subsidies?
Why are our power bills so high to pay for this renewable dream?
Nuclear is the only clean power that delivers 24 hours a day. Time to face facts?
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