Power Cuts & Rocketing Prices All Part of Australia’s Wonderful Wind & Solar ‘Transition’
Australians are getting a bitter taste of their ‘inevitable’ renewable energy transition: power rationing and rocketing power prices.
What’s depicted above is the weather-dependent power generation chaos at the heart of Australia’s renewable energy-driven power pricing and supply calamity.
The dismal data – courtesy of Aneroid Energy – is the output delivered by Australian wind power outfits to the Eastern Grid last month.
Spread from Far North Queensland, across the ranges of NSW, all over Victoria, Northern Tasmania and across South Australia its entire capacity routinely delivers just a trickle of its combined notional capacity of 8,587 MW.
3,000 to 4,000 MW collapses that occur over the space of a few hours are routine, as are rapid surges of equal magnitude, which make the grid manager’s life a living hell, and provide the perfect setup for power market price gouging by the owners of conventional generators, who cash in on the chaos.
Thanks to the erratic and occasional delivery of wind and solar, wholesale power prices are surging out of control and major energy users are simply being chopped from the grid when wind and/or solar output hits the floor. And this is just the beginning.
In the middle of Australia’s self-inflicted renewable energy crisis, the renewable rent-seeking crowd in their patsies in the mainstream press the keep talking about “coal outages”, referring to situations where one or two generating units among several housed at a coal-fired power plant are taken out of action for routine maintenance, a process that might take a few weeks. And, once the units are restored to operating health, they will merrily chug away 24 x 7 producing affordable power, whatever the weather. But that reality doesn’t sit well with their (internally inconsistent) narrative, one which is quick to blame our power woes on the occasional maintenance-related “coal outage”, but never on the daily natural “outages” of the kind depicted above.
Pro-renewable propaganda, of course, deliberately ignores the massive collapses in wind power output that occur on a random and chaotic basis, almost every single day, and, likewise, skips over sunset as if it never happens. Explaining the effect of sunset on solar power output to a solar aficionado is a tricky proposition, akin to disarming a temperamental car alarm while it screams in fits and bursts.
While Australia’s remaining fleet of coal-fired power plants have performed admirably, they are unfairly copping stick for the inherent unreliability of wind and solar.
During the month of May, there were more than a half-dozen occasions when total output amounted to less than 1,000 MW (or 11.6% of total capacity) and three occasions when output dropped below 600 MW (or 6.9% of total capacity). Not that you’ll ever hear about any of that in the mainstream media.
So, instead of producing anything like their total capacity of 8,587 MW, the dozens of wind farms connected to Australia’s Eastern Grid rarely produce half that, and then only for fleeting – blink and you’ll miss it – moments.
Most of the time their output amounts to a risible, and often plummeting, fraction of what’s notionally on offer. No wonder Australia’s power market is in complete disarray. As they say, sooner or later we all sit down to a banquet of consequences.
Here are a couple of reports on what’s in store for Australian energy consumers, thanks to an obsession with subsidised wind and solar.
Energy Crisis picks up speed Downunder: Now a major Gas retailer goes under
Jo Nova Blog
25 May 2022
Last week small electricity retailers were bleeding so badly they doubled their prices and asked their customers to leave.
This week it’s a big gas retailer, as Australia belatedly faces the same pain that hit and wiped out UK energy retailers:
Gas retailer Weston Energy’s collapse stirs call for Labor intervention
24 May 2022
Weston Energy, which provides gas to more than 400 companies and government agencies, ceased trading with immediate effect on Monday, creating uncertainty for major manufacturers with 7 per cent of the east coast’s commercial and industrial market forced to find a new supplier.
The company said it could no longer finance cash flow requirements of its trading portfolio “on a timely basis” with prices rising over 180 per cent since April, and almost three times higher than at the start of the year.
These are blistering rises in costs:
With spot gas prices up to four times higher than normal levels and wholesale electricity prices in NSW on track to finish the June quarter twice as high as the previous record, Mr Willox called on the Albanese government to respond.
Presumably at this point geniuses will suggest we need even more solar power — thus creating an even greater demand for expensive gas until we get a battery the size of Tasmania, or the sun goes Supernova and runs 24 hours a day.
Better yet — the inner city Teal voters could offer to run off their solar panels and donate their gas to the poor?
Will any of the Labor Party, Professors and Energy Experts even think of boosting gas production and exploration, and vaporizing the red tape? Probably not. But will they miss the chance to redevelop the cheap brown coal of La Trobe Valley and take the pressure off gas use and energy prices. We know they will…
We could make Australia more competitive, help plants thrive and food grow, and stop feeding foreign wars (do Ukrainian Lives Matter?). But we probably won’t. Not yet at least. Wait till those bills start to come in:
The Australian Energy Regulator will publish its default market offer for NSW, south-east Queensland and South Australia on Thursday. Households in those states may face a 10-20 per cent jump in their bills when new annual charges kick in on July 1, experts say.
Those states being about 65% of Australia’s population.
All the mainland states on the NEM are all still struggling with incredibly high $200+ per megawatt hour prices.
Jo Nova Blog
Aussie Energy Firm Tells Customers to Look Elsewhere for Better Deals, Warns Prices Could Double
The Epoch Times
Daniel Y Teng
31 May 2022
Independent energy retailer, ReAmped Energy in Brisbane, has taken the extraordinary step of suggesting its customers shop around for better deals warning they could be paying twice as much on their next power bill.
CEO Luke Blincoe said the energy market was “incredibly volatile” and that his company could not guarantee competitive prices in the short term.
“Australian households are already facing cost of living pressures and we don’t want to contribute to this any more than needed, so we are in the unpleasant position of advising customers that they can get better prices with other providers, and they should seek them out as quickly as possible,” he said in a press release (pdf) on May 31.
“There are still a handful of competitive deals in the market. No one really knows how bad it will get so we want people to act now.”
“Things have changed dramatically and very quickly—and the best thing you can do now is switch and save as much as you can. Staying with us could mean your prices have to double soon.”
ReAmped was launched in 2019 and now services around 70,000 customers across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and the Australian Capital Territory.
Blincoe said he expected the company to return to its “price-leading” position in the near future, and explained that the more customers ReAmped had, the more it had to push up retail prices to cover for increased wholesale rates—and to also limit the scale of its operations.
“By leaving, you are helping yourself, while helping to protect those who remain with us because we have no choice but to pass on the wholesale costs we’re facing.”
ReAmped is not the only small energy retailer adopting the same tactic, Discover Energy in Sydney simply shut off the sales function on its website to prevent an increase in customer numbers.
“Prices of oil, gas, and coal have seen significant increases because of world events such as the war in Ukraine and the after-effects of COVID-19 on energy supply chains have conspired to increase prices up to 500 percent in the case of spot gas,” according to a statement on May 12.
The company said the spot price for coal, gas, and hydroelectricity had tripled or doubled on the wholesale market.
“This has pushed the cost forward of the spot energy that small retailers must purchase to supply our customers.”
Australian energy markets have experienced extreme volatility in recent weeks with the regulator forced to implement a price cap on gas prices after a polar vortex drove up demand for heating.
Renewable energy advocates have blamed the price hikes on the country failing to develop alternative energy sources—wind, solar, and hydro—fast enough.
However, critics like Queensland Senator Matt Canavan, said political intervention in the energy market, which is hampering the opening of new coal-fired generators, has left the market without enough leeway to deal with increased demand for electricity.
“This is not complicated. When green policies, like net-zero, shut down coal, gas, and oil supplies, the price of energy goes up. When you restrict the supply of something useful, the price of that thing goes up,” he wrote on Twitter on June 1.
Daniel Wild, director of research at the Institute of Public Affairs, said Australians had been conned into believing the push for more renewables would equate to lower prices.
“More renewables equals higher prices. The policy of net zero emissions by 2050 is already pushing up power prices by forcing reliable and affordable coal-fired power off the energy grid in favour of unreliable wind and solar,” he said in a statement to The Epoch Times. “Net zero emissions hurts real Australians living in the suburbs and regions the most.”
The new Labor government has committed to increasing the portion of renewable energy sources in the national electricity market to 82 percent by 2030—currently, Australia sources 64.67 percent (pdf) of its electricity from coal-fired generation.
The Epoch Times