Friday, September 30, 2016

Betrayed by political cowardice from Australia's "One Nation" Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull

Sou | 5:59 PM Go to the first of 70 comments. Add a comment
You might have seen the appalling comments from Australia's Prime Minister yesterday. He was doing a good imitation of Malcolm Roberts. They both linked the worst storm in living memory in South Australia with renewable energy, and not in the manner one would expect.
Australia's Prime Minister and his act of political cowardice. September 2016

What you'd expect is that our political leaders would view the storm and statewide blackout as a stark reminder that we have to hurry up and reduce carbon emissions. Instead Malcolm Turnbull, in an incredible display of political cowardice, turned his back on Australians and all of humanity and used it as an opportunity to say we've got to slow the shift to renewables.

Yes, it was wind power that caused the blackout. The wind was so strong that it collapsed something like 20 high voltage electricity towers. These aren't the normal poles and wires you see in the street. We're talking about those massive steel constructions that support high voltage electricity wires, delivering power to substations and then throughout the nation. (I'm not aware of any wind turbines collapsing. Even had one done so, it wouldn't have caused a blackout.)

Why Malcolm Turnbull, our Prime Minister, used the event to slam renewables is something for other people with better resources to investigate. Is he now just a puppet of the coal lobby? Did the coal lobby do a deal with their allies in the Liberal-National coalition and did they broker a deal with Malcolm Turnbull?

Thing is, renewables if implemented properly will help avoid situations like this in the future. (One of the first places back on line was powered by wind power.)

Betrayed by a lack of leadership ... political cowardice 

Back in 2010, in the Deakin Lecture, Malcolm Turnbull said:
We live in a continent that is uniquely challenged by climate change. We live in a dry continent that is becoming drier, and hotter, in the Southern part where most of the population lives – and we have witnessed that. We have seen the last decade, the hottest decade on record; the next hottest was the one before that, the next hottest, the one before that. Climate change is real, it is affecting us now, and it is having a particularly severe impact on Australia. And yet, right now, we have every resource available to us to meet the challenge of climate change except for one: and that is leadership.

Our efforts to deal with climate change have been betrayed by a lack of leadership, a political cowardice the like of which I have never seen in my lifetime before. ...

Now it's Malcolm Turnbull who has betrayed the nation by his acts of political cowardice, a kowtowing to the fossil fuel lobby, the like of which I would never have expected to see from him. This is a man who people could have elected to lead the nation on climate change. A man who has turned his back on Australians, turned his back on science, and is being embraced by the wacky man of the same name, Malcolm Roberts, who tweeted that South Australia's climate change policies caused the storm (or maybe the blackout)!

Call me utterly dismayed and disgusted.


  1. Yes Malcolm Turnbull failed in his comments.
    As to any utterance from Malcolm Roberts please spare me the pain of reading it.
    We are witness to a total fail in leadership, which is very disquieting indeed.

    1. I regard it as worse than a failure (of leadership and fact). I view it as a betrayal. Some people voted for him thinking he would be true to his word on climate change.

      That's much worse than Malcolm Roberts' idiocy - everyone (well, almost everyone) knows his views are nuts - on lots of things, and don't expect any different.

      Malcolm is turning out to be a fraud. He appealed to people who were concerned about climate change and now he's leading the country, he's turned his back on them. I'm starting to doubt that he ever held those ideas in the first place. Maybe it was all political posturing to catch votes from the informed members of our society.

  2. It's not only the barking-mad ideologues of the LNP wo are wallowing with malice aforethought in their cherished ideogical confabulations. Chris Uhlmann, the political reporter for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (and once-candidate for a conservative party in an ACT election) has weighed in with the same nonsensical mantra:


    Perhaps he's lining himself up for a plum position as a communications person/lobbyist for the Australian Minerals Council, or the Australian Coal Association, or just the LNP, but as an objective reporter of the facts of climate science and technology he leaves everything to be desired.

    I was going to say that I doubt he could stoop to lower levels, but one doesn't want to tempt fate...

  3. Losing 20 power transmission pylons seems an indictment of the main power distribution system.

    Apparently your PM is as delusional as your newly famous senator.

    1. It was freak twin tornadoes that caused it. Not something that happens every day (or every year). It's never happened before in South Australia.

      And I agree, Malcolm Turnbull could have been confused with Malcolm Roberts (who was busy tweeting about the Prime Minister's playing politics with an extreme weather event, loving it).

  4. So many so-called conservative politicians come across as proudly brainless ideologues these days. I'm certain there used to be some that were otherwise, but perhaps that breed has died off.

    At least in the Anglosphere, the political right is now about as genuinely conservative as climate change deniers are genuinely skeptical. As far as I'm concerned many are reckless short-sighted looters and vandals, or else readily co-opted by those profiting from such behavior.

    The reaction of the Australian right is a typical example of opportunism, motivated reasoning and selective memory. The largest and longest power blackouts in North America over the past 15 years were triggered by severe weather or cascading system overloads originating from single points of failure, and on grids supplied by conventional baseline sources (hydroelectric, natural gas, coal and nuclear).

    It's very strange that a country as large, open and sunny as Australia isn't leading the world in solar power on a per capita basis, with wind making up a strong regional second.

    It seems clear that a highly decentralized power grid fed by many intermittent sources may constitute a difficult (but feasible) engineering challenge, but could be more robust and failure-proof than the current grids that are so dependent on a limited number of large distant power plants and high-capacity power lines.

    1. Too true, Magma, unfortunately. As a Yankee ex-pat living in Europe for the past... 38 years, I can attest to the fact that most politicians are all about saving their own bacon, and precious little else. Not a great model for saving the world/creating a sustainable future, no?

      Then you figure that the electorate, the ones that actually vote, that is, might be enough to save us if they are sufficiently informed. But then you get weird stuff like this thrown at you:

      Me: "A vote for Stein is effectively the same as not voting at all." (if your aim is not to elect Trump, that is. As I had made quite clear prior to that closing statement)

      Response to me: "As someone who pays too much attention to the damn election, I have to disagree. Pundits are saying that a vote for Stein will actually assist Trump in achieving his goal."

      Um... that's exactly what I said, I think. I weep for my former country.

  5. The really sad aspect of the outcomes from Malcolm Turnbull's comments on the outcome in South Australia is that in conversations I have had this week is that people actually believe the cause of the failure of deliverance of power to SA was because of RE both Solar and Wind Power.
    Malcolm Turnbull has to hang his head in shame, his misguided words blaming RE for the demise of a system deliverance system caused by under-design has to be taken very seriously.
    Instead of 100kph wind strength pylons they should have been designed for well over 200 kph as any engineer with half a brain would have done.
    It really saddens me to see the outcome from this episode where poorly informed people think the opposite of what really happened so yes i am not exactly happy with Mr. Turnbull.

    1. An engineer with half a brain would build to withstand a nuclear bomb. One with a full brain builds to withstand what's expected, because you also have to weigh in the budget for the extra strength.

      Climate change makes that harder, because now you're facing uncertainty about what is to be expected over the lifetime of your construction.

  6. If the Yanks were as concerned about keeping up with what's actually happening in the world around them as they were in keeping up with the Kardashians, we wouldn't be in this freaking mess we find ourselves in.

    I blame the media for kowtowing to the almighty advertising revenue at the expense of doing what they're supposed to be doing: being objective. Profit above all else is our eventual demise.

  7. Well, are you people listening to yourselves? Do you realize how dramatic and over the top you sound?

    Sure, Malcolm has to comment, and, being a politician, he'll put his spin on it.

    But, in here the punter are horrified and beside themselves: .. "a failure of leadership" ... "betrayal" ... "fraud"

    The man actually made some sensible comments:

    "These intermittent renewables do post real challenges," the Prime Minister told reporters in Hobart.

    "Now, I regret to say that a number of the state Labor Governments have over the years set priorities and renewable targets that are extremely aggressive, extremely unrealistic, and have paid little or no attention to energy security."

    Making a more resilient grid would seem to be doable, depending on your priorities.

    And no, that does not mean reinforcing individual pylons to withstand cyclonic winds. It means having a wider spread grid which can divert per through different paths as required.

    1. It is not only an about face from Turnbull, from his strong statement in 2010. Back then he was criticising the Labor government for not taking firm action in getting in a carbon price to address the biggest challenge facing the world.

      Then his government dismantled almost everything, including the carbon pricing scheme, and put barriers in the way as much as they were able. They undermined all hope of a nationwide approach. Now he has the gall to complain there isn't a nationwide approach?

      The worst thing is that he used an unrelated power blackout to do his posturing for *slowing* the shift to renewables. That was right after a weather event that shows the urgency of reducing emissions.

      What has Malcolm Turnbull done to get any national approach? Nothing. He and the Lib/National coalition are working against reducing emissions, not for any national approach to help speed up the shift to renewables.

      Yes - he disappoints and disgusts me. It was an act of political cowardice - to quote his own words back to him. (It's pretty obvious that the only way he figures he can stay PM is to kowtow to the extreme right of his party - as per his "secret agreement" with the Nationals.)

    2. Solar power spreads power generation, reducing peak loads on that grid you are talking about.

    3. @Anonymous

      Try listening to yourself first.

      Who said anything about reinforcing "individual" pylons? Quite obviously it is about building pylons and the whole network appropriate to the conditions.

      And however diverse you make your supply it is useless if all your pylons fall over in a puff of wind. Not to mention that renewable sources have to lead to a more diverse supply.

    4. @Anonymous

      Turnbull is simply lying when he says that the states "have paid little or no attention to energy security."

      The AEMO, the operator of the NEM have "ensuring energy security" as one of their mandates. The AEMO would not allow additional wind farms to built or connect to the grid if energy security was not ensured.

      The blackout in SA was caused by pylons being knocked over by a severe storm (that spawned twin tornados) probably exacerbated by climate change according to Professor Steffen from ANU.

      If Turnbull was offering Federal money to strengthen the SA grid he would be applauded. But he is not - he is using this event as an excuse to slowdown to rollout of renewables in order to satisfy the climate science denying hard right of the L/NP and the fossil fuel lobby.

      This article sums it up


      Frydenburg makes it absolutely clear that he wants the states to go no further than the Federal RET target which has already been weakened by Abbott. The irony is that Australia's Paris carbon abatement targets cannot be met without the much more ambitious state renewable energy targets.

      Turnbull the coward has morphed into Abbott. He has become a major obstacle to climate policy in this country.

    5. Australia would be very wise to proceed down the renewables path in a calculated and measured manner.

      Charging in the vanguard may make some of us feel like dramatic saviours of the planet (yes, you over there with the foam in the corners of your mouth), but the practical effect of any move needs to be taken into consideration, and more so where there are likely to be negative economic outcomes for negligible practical gains.

      Turnbull would appear to be taking a pragmatic view.

    6. [Part I]

      "Well, are you people listening to yourselves? Do you realize how dramatic and over the top you sound?"

      Oo, a concern troll...

      "Sure, Malcolm has to comment, and, being a politician, he'll put his spin on it."

      Yes, his ideological "spin", which has nothing to do with truth or scientifically-validated sustainable long-term necessity.

      Or... Turnbull could rise above the machinations of the right-wing base in Australia and be an actual leader, a stateman in the 'old-fashioned' sense, and ignore the vested interests of rich fossil fuel corporations in favour of building a habitable future for the generations and species that currently have no voice.

      "But, in here the punter [sic] are horrified and beside themselves: .. "a failure of leadership" ... "betrayal" ... "fraud""

      Or perhaps there is an actual "failure of leadership", and a betrayal of generations and species who are not wealthy fossil fuel miners.

      Not sure where you're dredging up the "fraud" from, but a case could probably be made on that score to, if push came to shove.

      "The man actually made some sensible comments:

      "These intermittent renewables do post real challenges," the Prime Minister told reporters in Hobart.

      That depends on how one is using the implications inherent in the term "sensible".

      Turnbull repeatedly and vociferously claims to be the "innovation" prime minister. The major issue with renewables is one of baseload, but that is in no way the issue involved in the blackout of the South Australian grid, which, as I and many others have indicated, was the result of the destruction of transmission infrastructure. And guess what? There are already innovative ways to deal with baseload supply, and with the frequency matching that is another of the excuses used to attempt to justify the LNP's and the conservative media's mendacious and misplaced persecution of renewable power in the wake of the SA blackout.

    7. Oh, for pity's sake, - my browser is crawling along at a snail's pace and not displaying my updates. Hn.

      [Part II]

      You quote Turnbull:

      "Now, I regret to say that a number of the state Labor Governments have over the years set priorities and renewable targets that are extremely aggressive, extremely unrealistic, and have paid little or no attention to energy security."

      and say:

      "Making a more resilient grid would seem to be doable, depending on your priorities."

      As others have said, renewables and there inherent decentralisation and multi-sourced supplies of power increase the resilience of a grid, so your point is a straw man. And constructing a sustainable and resilient grid is emminently "doable", and could have been done a decade ago or more, but for the conservative right wing in Australia having priorities in diametric opposition to these ends.

      "And no, that does not mean reinforcing individual pylons to withstand cyclonic winds."

      As others have already pointed out, this is a(nother) straw man fallacy.

      "It means having a wider spread grid which can divert per through different paths as required."

      Again, a logical fallacy - a non sequitur. The installation of renewables in no way has hampered diversity and decentralisation (quite the opposite), so your proposition is fatuous. Energy experts have already pointed out that one of the reasons that SA recovered so quickly from a serious state-wide blackout was exactly because it had fast-responding renewables with which to restart, and indeed there were premises in SA that weren't affected by the blackout... because they were powered by renewable energy.

      If anything, it's the use of last century's old coal infrastructure, and the privatisation of the same network, that have failed South Australia and that challenge the sustainability of coal. But in your New Speak, and that of Turnbull, Barnaby Joyce, Josh Frydenberg, Chris Uhlmann, and other symnpathisers of the fat coal corporations of Australia, it has to be the fault of the renewable energy sector.

      You're a pretty good example of what happens when Big Brother straps a rat cage to one's face.

      And grow a pair of testicles, anonymous, and put a nym to your post.

    8. Anonymous wrote: >>Australia would be very wise to proceed down the renewables path in a calculated and measured manner.<<

      It is - except it's under-measured and the calculation is off. We remain among the highest per capita fossil fuel users in the world.

      >>Charging in the vanguard may make some of us feel like dramatic saviours of the planet (yes, you over there with the foam in the corners of your mouth),<<

      Has Anonymous got a beam in her (or his) eye?

      BTW - what has switching to renewables got to do with the SA storm? Good question for Anonymous as well as for Malcolm Turnbull, Josh Frydenberg and Nick Xenophon. Climate change? A reminder that we need to shift to clean energy more quickly than we are doing? A wake-up call to the Federal Government that it's time it stopped dragging its feet and did a heap more at the national level, because it's not going to achieve what it's promised, the rate it's going?

    9. yes, you over there with the foam in the corners of your mouth

      Projection, my sputtering Anonymous. Just projection.

    10. "concern troll" ???!!

      Oh, I looked it up.


      Someone who disagrees with my obviously correct opinion and my over dramatic presentation of said opinion.

    11. @Anonymous

      You must have found that definition in the "Deniers Dictionary of Witty Ripostes".


    12. So you have nothing of actual substance to offer in defence of your thesis, anonymous coward?


      For those bumping heads with Marke below, he has form from a while back. He also has nothing but bone between his ears, so repeated head-butting won't achieve very much...

    13. Bernard.
      You are so busy putting up contrived labels, and straight up name calling, I doubt you are interested in debate.


    14. Strangely, @Anonymous, I get the impression you are not interested in debate either.

    15. I believe the correct description would be "tone troll".

    16. @Anonymous

      The way you name called that person "over there" precludes you from that criticism. How do you think he or she feels?

    17. Standard FUD blather from an anonymous windbagger. Yawn.

      The point of such a strategy is to get the public to associate the blackout with windpower.

      So Xenophon*, Frydenberg, the ABC's Chris Uhlmann, Joyce, Turnbull, Poodle Pyne, and now even the ridiculous Hunt have succeeded - tipping the world on its head in the process - in turning what ought to have been a discussion about the need for more renewables in the face of clearly climate change related freak weather into a blame-game witchhunt where much of the population will now lazily, hazily remember this outage as 'wasn't that the one caused by all those wind farms?'

      This sad little anonymous foot-soldier is just playing me-too; the rot started at the top, and started more-or-less immediately, to such an extent that I wonder whether this was not an opportuntiy they'd all been waiting for.

      At any rate, FF lobbyists will have been wringing their hands in delight for the last few days. Because who cares what logic, the actual energy regulators, and the ETU say, right? Isn't that what we all learned from Brexit; no-one cares what experts think anymore?

      All in all, a disgusting performance, and one that makes you realise that Trumpism is only the most extrememe manifestation of the anglophone world's absorption into the reactionary epistemic bubble.

      *The man who has a completely undeserved reputation as being somehow 'not a politician' leaps straight out to the media to get himself on telly manipulating a natural disaster on behalf of his crank agenda, evidence be damned! Sadly, this can only remind us that the credulity - and half-informed, intellectually lazy self-regard - of much of the electorate is as big a problem as these people are.

    18. "Sure, Malcolm has to comment, and, being a politician, he'll put his spin on it."

      Actually, the PM is not obliged to 'comment', as in speculate about causes and implications. He is no systems expert. 'In the good old days' a politician would not have the gall to offer his ten cents on a specialist area. He'd be happy to deflect the question to an expert.

      And as he's not obliged to comment, there is no expectation that he needs to spin anything at all!

      Turnbull's interjection was destructive nonsense, and I have not read any valid defense of his choice of tack.

  8. Sorry for the multiple deletions everyone. My browser and/or my BB connection seem to be bent on emulating the bad old days of dial-up. >:-(

  9. I’m with this guy:

    Is it happening? Not sure.
    Will it be bad? Nah, we will adapt.
    Are the current cures proving worse than the disease? Yes.
    Is nuclear a handy stopgap? Yes.

    James Lovelock, Godfather of Green: Climate Change Religion is Bunk


    1. "Will it be bad? Nah, we will adapt.

      Just because we adapt does not mean it will not be bad. And adapt does not mean all will be fine.

      For Pete's sake, we humans have some intelligence. Is it asking too much to ask we use it to anticipate and avoid problems?

    2. Thanks for that Marke. The idea that your world view is formed by nonagenarians, and ones that have been spectacularly wrong in the past, is amusing to say the least.

    3. the breitbart article is just a rehashing of a current Guardian


    4. Maybe Marke looks forward to a world ruled by robots? And if he thinks that's nuts, maybe Marke can tell us why he is "with this guy"...and yet isn't.

    5. Maybe somebody confused a trailer for Westworld with a news item.

    6. Yes, Lovelock does flip-flop on his ideas. I think he is backing all the horses he can so he can say he was right whatever transpires.

      Only someone like @marke could be "with the guy" so gullibly uncritical.

    7. yep - the very good comment by a poster called SteB1 pretty much summed Lovelock up (reproduced below)

      "You don't get it. He's a tiresome controversialist who makes overblown claims, and engages in blatant contrived hyperbole to sell his books. Then he writes another one, entirely contradicting what he previously said, just to be controversial. He's a former chemist. He has never been a climate scientist, and he has got nothing useful to say on the matter.

      Trying to claim that the green movement is a religion is a bit rich coming from someone who proposed the much criticised Gaia theory, which was named after the goddess of the Earth. In his previous books, he spoke about Gaia taking revenge against us because of the way we treated the Earth. It was him that tried creating a quasi-religion, not the green movement. I've read most of his earlier books, and had some respect for some of his ideas when he was more sensible. However, it soon became clear that he was always contradicting himself all the time. One moment he was talking about Gaia as just a name for a self-regulating system, then he started attributing understanding, volitions and intentions to this entity he had created.

      The late great scientist Lynn Margulis worked with Lovelock on the Gaia hypothesis, and brought some life science knowledge and scientific rigour to it which Lovelock was lacking. However, she then separated from her collaboration with Lovelock, when he started making overblown claims about Gaia as an entity, to sell his books.

      When climatologist Stephen Schneider convened the 1989 American Geophysical Union Chapman Conference around the issue of Gaia, the idea of “strong Gaia” and “weak Gaia” was introduced by James Kirchner, after which Margulis was sometimes associated with the idea of “weak Gaia,” incorrectly (her essay "Gaia is a Tough Bitch" dates from 1995 – and it stated her own distinction from Lovelock as she saw it, which was primarily that she did not like the metaphor of Earth as a single organism, because, she said, "No organism eats its own waste"[24]). In her 1998 book Symbiotic Planet, Margulis explored the relationship between Gaia and her work on symbiosis.

      The people criticising Lovelock are not doing it because they don't like what he is saying. Many of them are very knowledgeable about the things Lovelock is pontificating about, and they are fed up with his contrived controversies to sell his latest book. It was actually embarrassing for most people knowledgeable about the subject, and with scientific backgrounds, when Lovelock started making over blown claims about climate change, which is a very serious problem, but Lovelock was way stepping outside science. This is when he was spouting about the Earth being fried to a crisp, and Gaia wiping us out because we'd offended her.
      Lovelock claims to be working on a fiction book. Whereas actually he has been writing science fiction for years. I dare say he has a good old chuckle at the controversy he causes, and the fools who fall for what he says in his latest book. In reality Lovelock was primarily and inventor and not so much a scientist. He was more of a technician, with some scientific qualifications.

    8. Google the following words. Observation. Measurement. Statistics. Laws of physics. Science definition. Then google "religion".
      Since you seem to be dependent on belief to guide your assessment of truth, you might want to brush up on that - "Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding." Proverbs 17:28

  10. well as I pointed out in the comments section of the article

    Yes it simply reads like

    "old man makes wild unsubstantiated projections, after earlier wild unsubstantiated projections prove to be wild unsubstantiated projections"

    just a puff piece bit of lazy "filler" journalism masking the fact that it is simply promoting Lovelocks new book

  11. Maybe somebody confused a trailer for Westworld with a news item.

    Millicent nails it. as usual.

    1. Marke is living in fear of a world ruled by robots wearing stetsons.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. the irony is Westworld was written by a certain Michael Crichton

    4. In South Africa they call traffic lights robots. It looks like they control us all already. Bert

  12. Here you go. A headline that agrees with you:

    South Australian blackout: Malcolm Turnbull politicking at time of emergency, Jay Weatherill says

    But, it sounds like spin to me:

    As I read it:

    1. The transmission line faults occurred,
    2.then the system coped for a short period,
    3. but when the wind power suddenly dropped out, that overloaded the interstate inter-connector, and system shut down.
    The reason for the wind generation shutdown is as yet unknown.

    AEMO said in a summary that severe weather, including high winds, thunderstorms, lightning strikes, hail and heavy rainfall, resulted in multiple transmission system faults on Wednesday last week.

    This included the loss of three major 275 kV transmission lines north of Adelaide in the space of 12 seconds.
    SA power outage: How did it happen?

    South Australia and its 1.7 million residents were left without power on Wednesday evening following severe storms.

    It said generation initially flowed through the damaged systems but "following an extensive number of faults in a short period [seconds], 315 MW of wind generation disconnected".

    "The uncontrolled reduction in generation resulted in increased flow on the main Victorian interconnector to make up the deficit," AEMO said.

    This resulted in the interconnector overloading and an automatic-protection mechanism tripping the interconnector to protect it from damage, causing the rest of SA black-out.

    The report said there was a reduction in wind farm generation at connection points leading up to the outage, but more analysis was required to discern what that cause was.

    1. The dropout was from transmission failures, not generation failures. This is from another analysis of the report at RenewEnergy:

      ...The report was released on Wednesday morning, just two days before a hastily convened COAG energy minister’s meeting on Friday.

      This is grist for the mill for that meeting – and it appears its timing serves no other purpose. No doubt it will be seized upon by the Coalition in its campaign against wind farms and its attempts to stop the states from going forward with their own renewable energy programs.

      In particular, the Coalition will point to the loss of 315MW of wind power highlighted by AEMO in the press release after the collapse of the last of the transmission lines that preceded the failure of the inter-connector. At that point all the remaining gas and wind generators tripped.

      But there is a question about whether this loss of wind capacity really mattered. The data in the actual report suggests not.

      Wind generators were producing a total of 883MW at the time (gas was providing 330MW and 613MW was coming from Victoria) – had ridden out the loss of the first two transmission lines.

      A small amount of wind capacity dropped out after the second transmission fell, but as this chart below shows, there was no impact on frequency. It was only the failure of the third transmission line at 1615.18 that the system went black 1.2 seconds later.

      The third transmission line took away the delivery for two other wind farms. It wouldn’t have mattered which power source. Within another half a second, all gas and wind plants had gone after the interconnector tripped....

      I don't know why the Federal Government doesn't want to meet its own renewable energy targets. Perhaps too many politicians are in thrall to the fossil fuel sector, or perhaps it's that too many of them think that wind farms cause storms.

    2. I love it when people who know bugger all about a state, its people, its electricity networks, its power generation infrastructure etc. etc. give us their really valuable opinions based on their highly motivated readings of who is and isn't spinning a situation.

      This state sure suffered a hard blow - and then we've kept having to suffer the blowhards. From Xenophon over to the PM and his Murdochratic enablers, down through the One Nation space cadets, arriving at the bottom of the barrel with drive-by prats like this guy and anonymous above.

      Yep, what the world really needs is more of the endless, impressionistic, self-congratulatory bloviations of aging white guys...

    3. Sure, if this is correct, then it was not due to wind farms shutting down due to storm conditions.

      It was only the failure of the third transmission line at 1615.18 that the system went black 1.2 seconds later.

      The third transmission line took away the delivery for two other wind farms.

      Line failure is line failure.

      I had expected that if it was this simple, they would have simply stated it instead of pondering on the role of wind power in the shutdown.

      I have no idea why they did not.

      By the way, sorry about discussing things.

      I didn't realize the basic aim here is to pat each others' backs and deride any other information and comment.
      I'm really quite shocked. :-(


    4. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-05/south-australian-blackout:-malcolm-turnbull-'politicking'/7904282

      Strange how that link is now redirected to


      What sort of media is ABC? Is it fairly objective?

    5. It's usually objective, not always fairly, but probably at least as 'fairly objective' as the rest of the media, overall. And more objective than most - when it's not being a mouthpiece for the Institute of Public Affairs (a right wing lobby group).

      Also, Chris Uhlmann, who is now the ABC's political editor, is a rabid anti-wind ideologue. I don't know if he's a science denier as well. He comes across as not being in favour of mitigating carbon emissions but whether it's for ideological or religious reasons or for more pragmatic reasons (because he sees it as being in his current or future interest otherwise), I don't know.

    6. Uhlmann's at it again; now its people who understand that it's vital to the future of this country that renewables not be sandbagged should just chill and realise he's allowed to JAQ off via the public broadcaster, right?

      This is what decades of right-anting at the ABC gets us.

  13. Gee, smug pontifical tone-trolling - there's a surprise!

    Anyway, those interested in reality and not playing the giddy-gloat [sic] might also look to this summary:

    A very serious weather event involving high winds, thunderstorms, lightning strikes, hail and heavy rainfall results in multiple transmission system faults through the state grid, including, in the space of 12 seconds – the loss of three major 275KV transmission lines north of Adelaide.

    Pause here momentarily. Make sure you take in point one properly before we move to the next point in the sequence, because, on current information, point one is pretty important. It’s the critical factor.

    After the freak storm hit, causing the loss of three major transmission lines, we then get to the windfarms. The AEMO describes the sequence thusly: “Following multiple faults in a short period, 315MW of wind generation disconnected, affecting the region north of Adelaide. The uncontrolled reduction in generation increased the flow on the main Victorian interconnector (Heywood) to make up the deficit and resulted in the interconnector overloading.”

    Then, to avoid damage to the interconnector, the “automatic-protection mechanism activated” – which tripped the interconnector and caused the blackout.

    So yes, if you were interested in highly selective storytelling, you could thunder “it was the windfarms what did it”. Colonel Mustard, in the library, with the candlestick.

    But, if you are interested in understanding the complete picture, it’s the one I’ve just given you, subject to the caveat that the AEMO itself gives – that it’s too early to “know” several things. We’ll get another update from the regulator on 19 October, then the final detailed assessment in about six months’ time.

    What the events in South Australia should do is this: trigger a serious conversation about whether federal and state governments are working together collaboratively to ensure we are combining measures to ensure future energy security with the urgent imperative of lowering greenhouse gas emissions to meet our international obligations.

    To my mind this is one of the most sordid pieces of political sandbagging that I can ever recall - a deliberate attempt to kneecap a fledgling industry in the name of a reactionary ideological agenda that is too monumentally Stupid to wipe the smug grin off its face for half a second and think about what it's actually just committed us to.

    It's also a de facto renunciation of our ever meeting any of our international obligations re carbon.

    The Australian public was stupid enough to buy all the crap about the 'Great Big New Tax' from the most ludicrous salesman in the country's history.

    They were also stupid enough to swallow the notion that the community had no right to a share in the miners' unprecedented profit-taking during the greatest boom in the country's history; a perfect inversion of what happens in sane countries with literate, engaged populations, like, say Norway.

    Odds are they'll be stupid enough to buy this. And the reactionaries know it. Conservatism is now Trumpism: you don't have to be right - in fact, that's not even a conceptually valid idea - you just have to win.

    The Anglophone world is not merely being compressed into a reactionary bubble, it's fast collapsing into an epistemic singularity...

    1. Hey, some common ground!

      We need as heavy a mining tax as possible.

      Allowing the largely foreign owned (70%) big miners to extract as much mineral wealth as quickly as they can for the price of a few vague promises of a few jobs, a rapidly declining state mining royalty, a few strategic political donations and promises of board seats is lunacy.

      They also get away with murder in relation to groundwater usage and land clearing.

  14. AEMO confirms wind farms caused the blackout. https://www.aemo.com.au/Media-Centre/-/media/BE174B1732CB4B3ABB74BD507664B270.ashx

    1. can you quote the exact text in the report that says that

      "wind farms caused the blackout"

    2. Don't expect Eric to have read the report or if he has, to have understood it. Eric's comprehension isn't that high. He's just parroting the headlines he's read at his climate conspiracy blog.

      If you read the report, the main thing that precipitated the blackout was the storm's wind and tornadoes. The storm caused all sorts of problems, including downing numerous towers on three of the four transmission lines.

      Since all weather is affected by global warming, it's likely that this storm wouldn't have been the way it was without it.

      Eric probably thinks all the blackouts in Victoria, the ACT and NSW this past week were also caused by South Australia's wind farms. (He's never exhibited any skills in critical thinking.)

    3. @ sou - yeah I have read the Exec summary, and although not an expert on electricity generation :-), I can read !! and I can't see anything that supports Eric's assertion

      But as always happy to be shown I am mistaken

    4. Tadaaa, I think you'll be waiting forever for Eric to show you're mistaken. He might try but he'll fail because the report doesn't say that.

    5. yes, I suspect he his playing to the "denier" gallery

      they have to respond - so they simply post any old sh1t, to show the rest of the denier crowd they have a response

      and a link to a report sounds and looks impressive

      but they work on the basis that no denier will EVER read it let alone try and understand what it says

      it is simply a tick in the box for them

    6. The question we need to ask ourselves here is not 'how stupid is Eric?' - we already have the answer to that one - it's 'how easily/willngly will the average suburban punter swallow the reactionary spin on this one?'

      Doing something about climate change is probably inconvenient, and, goddamn, there's a chance it may even cost them money! I've already cited the most obvious examples of egregious credulity: buying the GBNT and the Mining Tax BS, not to mention electing Tony Abbott in the first place, then re-electing him in his guise as Malcolm Turnbull.

      People who actually pay attention and understand that all this is of immense importance aren't going to be the problem. The problem is: how many people generally do you think are actually like that? The IPA, LNP and established FF industry already think they know the answer to that question, and they've got those 2 major victories under their belts already...

    7. Eric Worrall confirms he's incapable of comprehending the AEMO report
      No need, Eric, your credentials are already established.

  15. Ok. Here we are:

    Even if the wind farms' violent oscillations did trigger the final shutdown, that it not necessarily an indictment of windfarms in general.

    Had the the extra power generation capacity existed in some other form (gas or coal) it very likely would not have been situated at far flung points on the grid where it could have bypassed the downed main lines.

    What is remarkable is that you all knew this well before the preliminary report was published, and so were able to roundly condemn the announcements of politicians.

    PS. I have attempted to include some of the standard phrases and words seemingly required for comment on this page, but am quite unable to incorporate any of the following words: 'smug', 'betrayal', 'troll' (tone/concern), 'pontifical', 'cowardice', 'prat', 'blowhard'...

    1. You forget, or never knew, that the event was 90 seconds long and the three lines went out in the space of 12 seconds inside that period. 8 towers had been blown over by tornadoes.

    2. Thanks, Nick.
      Actually, I thought it had happened more quickly than that. Thanks for the update.

    3. Of course there have never been large-scale blackouts before, so proving that it was turbines what done it:


      Perhaps armchair historians of grid instability would do well to note the common cause of wide area outages.

  16. "What is remarkable is that you all knew this well before the preliminary report was published ..."

    The trouble is marke is you do work hard to sound smug and be a bit of a prat. No, we did not all know this before the preliminary report. I, for one, have been following it with interest to find out what happened and the implications for grid design. I am quite open-minded about the causes and would accept, if it was so, that a move to new methods of generation throws up some technical issues here and there.

    What I see is that the anti-renewable politicians rushed to pin the problem on renewables and there was pushback against that. If those unscrupulous politicians did not rush to make political capital out of such events the whole debate would not be so polarised. People like you rush to support their assertions and throw some petrol on the debate and so it goes on. Of course the damage has already been done by then and the pro-renewable people are always having to do damage limitation and play catch-up.

    1. You know what is remarkable? What is remarkable is that people like Xenophon and Uhlmann knew just what had happened the moment the disaster occurred. And the Murdochracy, of course.

      Hence my favourite tweet of the whole fiasco to date: 'It's reassuring to know that if an asteroid wipes out the electrical network engineers the country's political editors can fill the breach.'

      I completely agree with your last paragraph. This wasn't a good faith discussion about inevitable problems in incorporating a 21st Century technology into an anachronistic 20th Century grid, or the inability to know exactly what will happen to any complex network in a literally unprecedented situation.

      This was a hit job from the Right on behalf of their clubby mates' moribund, but still bankable, energy interests. Fortunately there's reason to hope my pessimism above has been misplaced - let's hope the states make it clear to Turnbull that there is no going back, so mindless renewables scapegoating is off the agenda.

      And, the irony: the ABC's Political Editor Chris Uhlmann spends a week promulgatimg the IPA / Blackout Truther line on a natural disaster, actually says this:

      “Rushing to a target to parade green credentials exposes the electricity network to a serious security risk and, in the long run, risks permanent reputational damage to the renewable energy cause. The grid is being transformed, and that transformation needs to be managed sensibly, or the entire nation might go to black. [srsly] [my emph]

      -then accuses those who are calling him out of being 'hysterical'! Talk about Imax scale projection...

  17. @ Jammy Dodger - precisely

    and it is inevitable that extreme weather events will highlight flaws in the design of renewables, it would be remarkable if it did not

    after all the tsunami in Japan highlighted problems with the design of Fukushima

    simple tone trolling and projection


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