Blackouts in Australia

On ‎9‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 12:08 AM, Bill the Science Nerd said:

Seriously, renewable subsidies pale in comparison to fossil fuel, even before figuring in externalities like health impacts and climate change. Fossil fuels, unsubsidized, wouldn't even come close to being competitive unsubsidized with wind or solar. Most people know where the trough really is.

Only just saw this. NW, mate, where does this nonsense come from, and it is straight, plain nonsense. When I ask activists who spout this what subsidies they are talking about for coal or oil, at least in Australia, they point to tax concessions which are available to all the industries or a concession called the diesel fuel rebate - that's about it (tax concessions are not subsidies). As an exercise, and to help you grasp just how ridiculous your statement is, why don't you work out how much of the petrol pump price is due to government charges of one sort of another. In Australia I think its well over half, in Europe its much more. If there are mysterious subsidies for coal plants in the US why are they being phased out in favour of gas plants? (answer gas prices have fallen). There is a great deal more I can say, but if you have any proof of your assertion cite it, and I will show you how its wrong.  

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On 9/12/2018 at 4:02 AM, Tom Kirkman said:

For all of the pro-wind power people, kindly have a read of this thread, for a bit or reality adjustment.  @Jan van Eck  does a great job sorting out the wind power pie in the sky theories with actualities.

 

Assuming you are referring to Vermont in reference to 1980/90's vintage turbines. 

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On 9/9/2018 at 4:20 PM, Bill the Science Nerd said:

Agree with what you are saying here. Pull subsidies for both and let the markets figure it out. Yes, despite the increasing negatives of fossil fuel use, it is still highly beneficial until renewables can pick up the slack. It will happen faster than most people expect, but we cannot just turn off the coal plants tomorrow, as much as I would like to.

The problem with this is that in a free market fossil fuels don't pick up the tab for externality costs - particularly in areas like long term chronic effects on health. 

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On 9/10/2018 at 6:27 AM, catch22 said:

No you cant do that! - There would be mass unemployment of all the bean counters and other bureaucrats, entire industries would disappear including accountants, tax lawyers, book keepers etc etc... The amount of people out of work would be enough to loose an election...  No we couldnt possibly have a simple debits/credits electronic tax system for all transactions routed through a bank account and some simple laws to effectively close the doors on the infinitesimally small cash economy.... no this will simply not do! :)

There is no question that, in the USA and probably also Canada, the biggest beneficiaries of the complex tax codes and their myriad exemptions and deductions are accountants and tax lawyers.  

As but one example, a tax lawyer employed by General Electric Corporation is paid $1 million a year.   That is a lot of money. Yet, GE's tax lawyers have accomplished the impossible: a $65 billion-dollar industrial behemoth that pays zero federal income taxes.  Go figure. 

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9 hours ago, markslawson said:

Only just saw this. NW, mate, where does this nonsense come from, and it is straight, plain nonsense. When I ask activists who spout this what subsidies they are talking about for coal or oil, at least in Australia, they point to tax concessions which are available to all the industries or a concession called the diesel fuel rebate - that's about it (tax concessions are not subsidies). As an exercise, and to help you grasp just how ridiculous your statement is, why don't you work out how much of the petrol pump price is due to government charges of one sort of another. In Australia I think its well over half, in Europe its much more. If there are mysterious subsidies for coal plants in the US why are they being phased out in favour of gas plants? (answer gas prices have fallen). There is a great deal more I can say, but if you have any proof of your assertion cite it, and I will show you how its wrong.  

Since you were late to the conversation, I will summarize. 

We were specifically talking about subsidies in the US.

$20 billion in subsidies for fossil fuels 

Only $5 billion for renewable 

Wind is down to less than $0.03 per kilowatt hour 

Battery projects are around $500/kw-r

Even with greater subsidies on FF, they can no longer compete with renewable energy.

Subsidies 

http://priceofoil.org/2017/10/03/report-trumps-energy-dominance-plans-rely-on-billions-in-fossil-fuel-subsidies/

Cost of wind

https://insideclimatenews.org/news/23082018/wind-energy-prices-market-growth-offshore-tax-credits-turbines-technology

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On 9/11/2018 at 11:02 PM, Tom Kirkman said:

For all of the pro-wind power people, kindly have a read of this thread, for a bit or reality adjustment.  @Jan van Eck  does a great job sorting out the wind power pie in the sky theories with actualities.

 

Hate to break it to you but the thread is rubbish info from a quarter centry ago. It is full of people wishing it wasn't so. With current wind tech combined with a battery you can maintain around 1/3 nameplate capacity nearly indefinitely from any given location for less than 3 cents per kilowatt-hour American. And since the wind is always blowing somewhere in America, if you can't use your wind you can buy wind or solar from somewhere else for not much more. New wind plus storage beats gas hands down.

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3 hours ago, Bill the Science Nerd said:

Since you were late to the conversation, I will summarize. 

We were specifically talking about subsidies in the US.

$20 billion in subsidies for fossil fuels 

Only $5 billion for renewable 

Wind is down to less than $0.03 per kilowatt hour 

Battery projects are around $500/kw-r

Even with greater subsidies on FF, they can no longer compete with renewable energy.

Subsidies 

http://priceofoil.org/2017/10/03/report-trumps-energy-dominance-plans-rely-on-billions-in-fossil-fuel-subsidies/

Cost of wind

https://insideclimatenews.org/news/23082018/wind-energy-prices-market-growth-offshore-tax-credits-turbines-technology

That's what I thought Bill the Science Nerd - I looked at the underlying report for the first link you cite and its straight propaganda. Its clear a large part of what its talking about tax concessions available to all industries, including renewables. The reason the tax concessions for fossil industries adds up to an impressive amount is because there is much more of it, and they pay far more tax overall. The report caps this nonsense by adding in the American military spending to maintain troops in the Gulf region (page 21), justifying this as protection of overseas oil interests. This counts as a "subsidy" it seems. What you want, and the report obviously does not use is comparisons of industry assistance. In Australia these are compiled by the Productivity Commission. Go and find the US equivalent and you'll be horribly disappointed at the level of assistance wind and solar require.

Briefly looked at the second link. What it actually says is that the average cost of wind is below that of gas in some areas. Sure. If you don't add in balancing costs and the need to maintain power 24/7 then renewables can compete. If all subsidies were removed, would they survive? Nope. The fossil fuel industry would go on as before - it was powering networks for decades before anyone thought to disable those networks with renewables. If you disagree, okay, then let's take away the subsidies and see what happens.

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58 minutes ago, markslawson said:

That's what I thought Bill the Science Nerd - I looked at the underlying report for the first link you cite and its straight propaganda. Its clear a large part of what its talking about tax concessions available to all industries, including renewables. The reason the tax concessions for fossil industries adds up to an impressive amount is because there is much more of it, and they pay far more tax overall. The report caps this nonsense by adding in the American military spending to maintain troops in the Gulf region (page 21), justifying this as protection of overseas oil interests. This counts as a "subsidy" it seems. What you want, and the report obviously does not use is comparisons of industry assistance. In Australia these are compiled by the Productivity Commission. Go and find the US equivalent and you'll be horribly disappointed at the level of assistance wind and solar require.

Briefly looked at the second link. What it actually says is that the average cost of wind is below that of gas in some areas. Sure. If you don't add in balancing costs and the need to maintain power 24/7 then renewables can compete. If all subsidies were removed, would they survive? Nope. The fossil fuel industry would go on as before - it was powering networks for decades before anyone thought to disable those networks with renewables. If you disagree, okay, then let's take away the subsidies and see what 

I guess you still haven't read the rest of the conversation or the actual report referenced in the article. The overwhelming majority of the direct subsidies are NOT given to RE because the wording does not allow them to be applied due to the physical differences between RE and conventional power plants. 

Also you neglected to notice that the discussion is about wind plus storage. You have the Hornsdale Power Reserve to look to for a good example of this. With battery costs under $500/kw-h installed, you have a power plant that has very cheap fuel costs that can run 24/7 because the United States is a VERY big place and ALWAYS somewhere the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. The only thing slowing down adoption is the battery supply. But that will be fixed over the next five years or so. So as of now, wind or solar plus storage beats ANY fossil fuel hands down.

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22 hours ago, Bill the Science Nerd said:

I guess you still haven't read the rest of the conversation or the actual report referenced in the article. The overwhelming majority of the direct subsidies are NOT given to RE because the wording does not allow them to be applied due to the physical differences between RE and conventional power plants. 

Also you neglected to notice that the discussion is about wind plus storage. You have the Hornsdale Power Reserve to look to for a good example of this. With battery costs under $500/kw-h installed, you have a power plant that has very cheap fuel costs that can run 24/7 because the United States is a VERY big place and ALWAYS somewhere the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. The only thing slowing down adoption is the battery supply. But that will be fixed over the next five years or so. So as of now, wind or solar plus storage beats ANY fossil fuel hands down.

Bill - first off I could not believe that you attempted any response at all. The point I made was that I had read the report you referenced and pointed out where it clearly erred into fantasy, and grossly cooked the books to claim that fossil fuels are being subsidised ahead of renewables. Your response is this piece of nonsense.. 

 

22 hours ago, Bill the Science Nerd said:

The overwhelming majority of the direct subsidies are NOT given to RE because the wording does not allow them to be applied due to the physical differences between RE and conventional power plants. 

Bill, this sentence does not make sense. What wording, where? I'm not aware of any legal or other barriers preventing the subsidising of renewable plants, anywhere. I suspect they exist only in your imagination and because you could think of no other defence. As for the geographic diversity argument (America is a big place) this has been debunked so often it has become annoying. Sure the wind may be blowing somewhere but it is usually beyond distribution range. When the wind goes down it goes down over a wide area. Take a look at the wind power on any given grid over time (the figures should be available) - pick one, anyone, and you'll see there are sharp variations. The only way to get around this is with new and very expensive technology such as direct current lines. If you think it can be done on any scale with existing technology find a place where is has been done.

As for this point..

"So as of now, wind or solar plus storage beats ANY fossil fuel hands down." This is also complete nonsense unsupported by any evidence or report of which I'm aware - but you probably knew that. You point to the Hornsdale battery park in South Australia. I'm well aware of the plant and know that no one has made any such claim about it. The park has some uses in stabilising the SA power supply and has made some money doing that, according to activist sources, but it was built with government money and the gross margins are quite inadequate.

Bill leave it with you. I'm now moving on. I hope you have taken the response on board. 

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On 9/9/2018 at 3:08 PM, Bill the Science Nerd said:

Seriously, renewable subsidies pale in comparison to fossil fuel, even before figuring in externalities like health impacts and climate change. Fossil fuels, unsubsidized, wouldn't even come close to being competitive unsubsidized with wind or solar. Most people know where the trough really is.

why does Germany have the highest electricity prices in the world then?

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5 hours ago, Adam Jackson said:

why does Germany have the highest electricity prices in the world then?

I'll hazard a guess that it is due in large part to being an early adopter of wind and solar, and prices have decreased dramatically since then. Being a first mover gave them some advantages in learning how to deploy and integrate renewables, but they also paid a higher price.

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1 hour ago, Refman said:

I'll hazard a guess that it is due in large part to being an early adopter of wind and solar, and prices have decreased dramatically since then. Being a first mover gave them some advantages in learning how to deploy and integrate renewables, but they also paid a higher price.

Ow really then why is it still going up? should be decreasing surely!

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(edited)

1 hour ago, Adam Jackson said:

Ow really then why is it still going up? should be decreasing surely!

Ok I'll take another SWAG and say its probably to do with them shutting down their nukes.

UPDATE: Found this interesting article

http://energypost.eu/tipping-point-new-wind-and-solar-competitive-with-existing-coal-and-gas/

 

Edited by Refman

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Nope Germany shut down all it nuclear plants in 2011 after fukushima and prices did not change the following year. when they started to bring them back online prices started to rise.

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Looks like carbon credits have recently tripled, so I'm sure that's not helping much either.

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10 hours ago, Refman said:

Ok I'll take another SWAG and say its probably to do with them shutting down their nukes.

UPDATE: Found this interesting article

http://energypost.eu/tipping-point-new-wind-and-solar-competitive-with-existing-coal-and-gas/

 

Refman - sorry but no. This business about renewables somehow reducing prices is fantasy. It hasn't happened anywhere (with the possible exception of Norway which is 100 per cent hydro). Renewables have otherwise always resulted in higher prices. The problem is that the networks have to be designed so that it can operate without renewables at all but still be able to accept renewable power at the drop of a hat. In Germany's case it is bizarre in that the Germans don't dare shut down their brown coal plants (they take a whole day to restart), or even vary their output very much. The result is that they dump a lot of electricity on their neighbours and claim that the renewable energy is servicing their own grid. They have also spent vast amounts of money subsidising solar everything although Germany is one of the least sunny places in the world. Energy policies in other countries can be strange, in Germany policy has never connected with reality. 

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2 hours ago, markslawson said:

Refman - sorry but no. This business about renewables somehow reducing prices is fantasy. It hasn't happened anywhere (with the possible exception of Norway which is 100 per cent hydro). Renewables have otherwise always resulted in higher prices. The problem is that the networks have to be designed so that it can operate without renewables at all but still be able to accept renewable power at the drop of a hat. In Germany's case it is bizarre in that the Germans don't dare shut down their brown coal plants (they take a whole day to restart), or even vary their output very much. The result is that they dump a lot of electricity on their neighbours and claim that the renewable energy is servicing their own grid. They have also spent vast amounts of money subsidising solar everything although Germany is one of the least sunny places in the world. Energy policies in other countries can be strange, in Germany policy has never connected with reality. 

Good point.

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We moved out to Australia around 2009 living near the Snowy project. When we got there it happened to be the time the chap that runs it gave a talk to the workers in that he was joking about renewables (I guess kind of forgetting that was what he was running) and how deluded people were that thought they could be competitive. The talk he gave 5 years later was very different saying along the lines renewables were the biggest threat to their business.  

They seemed also to being pressured by the government to buy a coal fired plant, which obviously was a terrible idea. They were also looking at gas powered plants, but I don't know what happened there. Earlier this year I spoke to an employee of the company and apparently the mountains are crawling with contractors drawing up quotes for converting more of it to pumped storage, basically a massive battery.

But anyway the black outs, I'd put most of the blame on the government with certain people only putting their and their friends interests above the nations by trying to keep coal going. Even though the government have been pretty much against green electricity it's gaining a large part of the market due to economics. The energy minister showed what a fool he is with his statements about the large battery installed in SA. Solar and wind will become the largest energy sources in Australia because using them with various storage technologies is becoming the best economic choice. Enough of the publics money has been wasted trying to keep coal running. Another reason for such expensive electricity is the amount spent recently on up grading the distribution network for an expect rise in demand that never occurred, although that may change with the up take of EV's. But saying that I think most people will charge them from privately owned solar systems.

I should be going back to Australia soon and want to build another house for us. As I live in rural areas  with the cost of electricity and connection charges the economic choice for me is solar with battery, then I won't have to worry about blackouts either.  

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With sky high electric costs and PV systems available for $1/watt, solar in Australia is a no brainer. Installed costs in the US are about $3/watt and compete with lower electric prices

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On 8/24/2018 at 6:01 PM, Marina Schwarz said:

More and worse blackouts are on the way for Australians. The reason: aging coal plants. Yeah, I thought it was weird when I read it the first time, too but there it is.

"Shit oneself in a foot" ...:)

 

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On 9/18/2018 at 12:08 AM, Jan van Eck said:

There is no question that, in the USA and probably also Canada, the biggest beneficiaries of the complex tax codes and their myriad exemptions and deductions are accountants and tax lawyers.  

As but one example, a tax lawyer employed by General Electric Corporation is paid $1 million a year.   That is a lot of money. Yet, GE's tax lawyers have accomplished the impossible: a $65 billion-dollar industrial behemoth that pays zero federal income taxes.  Go figure. 

perhaps looking at GE stock price will give you some satisfaction...

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On 10/6/2018 at 9:06 AM, Refman said:

With sky high electric costs and PV systems available for $1/watt, solar in Australia is a no brainer. Installed costs in the US are about $3/watt and compete with lower electric prices

I've installed 6.6KW rooftop solar for $3,399 AUD (after subsidies of at least same value) with 5KW inverter but I wouldn't call it no-brainier. We've consumed 20-25KW/d costing us ~$500/quarter. System generates 25-30KW on a good summer day (shading) but as you may guess, we still need power at night. I'd be lucky to knock off $200/Q (3 years payback) on 11 cents feed-in tariff (days of 44 or 50 cents are gone) and only went for it because it adds to the retail value of the house. Although on paper solar may cost comparable to the grid power, reality is there is no sun shining at night and battery technology isn't there yet to bridge consumption and generation gap.

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On 9/9/2018 at 1:21 PM, Bill the Science Nerd said:

Funny I immediately thought Elon Musk when I read a battery that will last 20 years !

Its not built yet by the way and I also read a $5m subsidy.

I'm sure it will last 20 years and do exactly what is says as Elon always tells the truth and never exaggerates.

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