Behind Every Wind Turbine and Solar Panel There’s a Coal, Gas or Nuclear Plant

by Rudy P. SysAdmin at howtofindthemoney
The renewable energy zealot is all care and no responsibility. Claims that the world can run on sunshine and breezes and become “100% renewable” have been outdone by Tasmania with its claim that it will soon be 200% renewable.

But, dig a little deeper, and the 200% claim is just as hollow as the 100% claim; neither have ever been achieved at grid scale, and neither of them ever will be.

Unless, of course, you turn a blind eye to the fact that behind every wind turbine and solar panel there’s a coal, gas or nuclear plant chugging away in the background to keep the lights on.

Of the so-called “renewables”, stored hydro at least has the ability to deliver power 24 x 7. However, that’s for only as long as there’s sufficient water sitting behind the dam wall. And the amount of water sitting in any dam is, of course, dependent upon the weather (ie rainfall).

Victorian coal-fired power: what provides Tasmania’s energy safety net

Tasmania may be one of the wetter places in the world, but it’s not immune to dry runs and, more than once, its impressive hydro power capacity has literally run out of juice, with extended dry periods (aka ‘droughts’).

Back in 2016, it was forced to ship in 200MW worth of dirty diesel generators to keep the tinpot state ticking along: Tasmania’s LRET Inflicted Power Crisis: its 308 MW of Wind Power Capacity Deemed Utterly Worthless

A high-capacity interconnector running undersea across Bass Strait provides Tasmania with the ability to tap into Victoria’s coal-fired plants, on a daily basis. And, as JoNova details below, without reliable coal-fired power being delivered via that interconnector, Tasmania would be a dimly lit mix of National Park, dairies and berry farms.

Tasmania wins Freeloader Climate Fashion Award for aim to “be 200% renewable” by 2040

The Tasmanian Government has just announced they will be “200% renewable” by 2040 — a feat only possible because they have an umbilical cord to hostages in the mainland who have to pay for irrelevant surges in electricity that arrive when they don’t need it. The same hostages will send back fossil powered electricity every week to keep Tasmania running when the wind and sun stop and the water is worth more in the dam than out of it. Not to mention container-ships of GST cash to support the state with the second highest unemployment in the nation.

This is the same state that went 100% renewable for three months in 2015 and launched itself into an electricity crisis. They decommissioned the last fossil fuel power station, just in time to get islanded by a break in their umbilical cable and thence had to order flying squads of diesel generators to keep the lights on at a cost of at least $140m. They also had to restart the same plant they just closed. The state lost half a billion dollars in the crisis – nearly twice the cost of the newish gas plant which had only built in 2009.

Meanwhile, they’re aiming for 200% renewable, but the state has yet to get back to the magic 100% renewable, but hopes to by 2022.

All these quarters in the red below are ones where Tasmania needed to import up to 30 percent of its own electricity from the mainland. Not visible here are all the days during the blue “export” quarters where generators in Victoria kept the lights on in Hobart.

Tasmanian Electricity Imports, Exports, AER, Graph. Tasmanian Electricity — quarterly interstate transfers – Imports (red) and Exports (blue)

All the high export “blue” quarters in 2013 -2015 were during the carbon tax era. Tasmanian Hydro was running the dams down in El Nino conditions through carbon tax funded greed. The state got so desperately short of water in 2016 the intellectual giants in charge of Tas Hydro paid to do cloud seeding to fill the dams. Which would have been fine if they weren’t trying to do it in the face of a monster storm front that created flash flooding.

Too bad the Sun shines and the wind blows at the same time in Tasmania as it does in Victoria

Wind farms in both states are highly correlated so the extra energy will be pushed onto Victoria when it doesn’t need it. More unreliable power dumped on the National Grid just means that last reliable generators run less efficiently and have to raise their prices or go broke.

Droughts in both states are also “correlated”. The government hopes Tasmania will be the battery of the nation, but short of moving the island to Peru, when there’s a drought in Australia, the battery might be flat.

Money from the mothership is probably also coming for the Hydrogen Projects the state is planning, and possibly (who knows) to fund the  unneeded second undersea interconnector which will benefit foreign companies like UPC Renewables who want to build the largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s a project so unpopular even the Greens in Tasmania don’t want it.

Interconnectors are always sold as “opening up potential” but they are hugely expensive, the potential they open isn’t economic in its own right, and the billion-dollar cables wouldn’t be needed if states were self-sufficient with baseload stable power like they all used to be, and could be again.

Preliminary findings from that study indicate that the benefits of a second interconnector could outweigh the costs by $500 million.

But a 2016 report into the feasibility of adding a second undersea link suggested it would not be worth the $1 billion investment unless at least 1,000MW of new renewable energy capacity was built in Tasmania. – Reneweconomy

Australia has 300 years of perfectly good cheap coal, and probably a million years worth of uranium. Energy policy doesn’t have to be this dumb.

About Rudy P. Magnate II   SysAdmin at howtofindthemoney

3,942 connections, 65 recommendations, 13,711 honor points.
Joined APSense since, April 9th, 2013, From Solo, Indonesia.

Created on Mar 18th 2020 10:29. Viewed 277 times.


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