Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Luddite Eric Worrall huffs and puffs and wants to bring back smog @wattsupwiththat

This is interesting. Probably without knowing it, Eric Worrall at WUWT is arguing for a national strategy for the shift to renewable energy. He was writing about an anti-renewables article in The Australian. In part, the article was about how, in the absence of a national electricity strategy, more people will leave the grid. However, the article was clearly propaganda against the shift to renewables, as is the norm for The Australian and it's war against humanity.

That article in The Australian was a Murdoch slant on the preliminary report released last month by the Energy Expert Panel, chaired by the Chief Scientist, Dr. Alan Finkel: Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market (saved here).

Eric as usual makes up stuff, writing:
Australia’s Chief Scientist Alan Finkel has strongly criticised the impact of renewable energy policies on the poor, working class people and migrants.
That's wrong. That's not what the Finkel report was about. It's the lack of a national electricity strategy that is the problem. This is what the authors wrote - how vulnerable consumers will be disadvantaged if there are NOT the right price signals and incentives:
Without the right price signals and incentives, there will be inefficient investment by both consumers and networks, which may result in consumers disconnecting from the grid. This would result in the costs of building and maintaining the network being spread over a smaller number of users. Most of the impact would be on vulnerable consumers who do not have the resources to invest in technologies to reduce their demand or generate their own electricity, and on passive or loyal consumers who are not engaged in managing their electricity demand and costs.

It will be important to address the barriers to active engagement in the transition underway, as experienced by vulnerable groups. For example, consumers can be prevented from adopting new technologies – such as rooftop solar PV or battery storage – by a limited ability to pay large up-front costs or to obtain finance. Consumers who rent properties or live in apartments are limited in their ability to install such technology. Limited English language skills or poor financial literacy might make it harder for other consumers to engage in a market that offers increasingly complex choices. It is important that vulnerable consumers are not left behind or required to incur increased costs to subsidise households or businesses that are able to invest in new technologies. The COAG Energy Council is examining regulatory frameworks in the context of new technologies, new patterns of demand and consumer protection.

In other words, the regulatory frameworks need to take account of new technologies. They don't at present - at least not at the national level.

The report is preliminary and doesn't include findings and recommendations. It is an issues paper that lays out seven key themes:
  1. Technology is transforming the electricity sector
  2. Consumers are driving change
  3. The transition to a low emissions economy is underway
  4. Variable renewable electricity generators, such as wind and solar PV, can be effectively integrated into the system
  5. Market design can support security and reliability
  6. Prices have risen substantially in the last five years
  7. Energy market governance is critical
The preliminary report is available now and public submissions are invited. Submissions must be in by 5:00 pm AEDT on 21 February 2017. The authors list a number of questions to be addressed:
  • How do we ensure the NEM can take advantage of new technologies and business models? 
  • How do we ensure the NEM meets the needs of all consumers, including residential, large-scale industrial and vulnerable consumers? 
  • What role should the electricity sector play in meeting Australia’s emissions reduction targets? 
  • What are the barriers to investment in the electricity sector? 
  • What immediate actions can we take to reduce risks to grid security and reliability? 
  • Is there a role for technologies at consumers’ premises in improving energy security and reliability? 
  • What role is there for new planning and technical frameworks to complement current market operations? 
  • How can markets help support additional system security services?
  • How can we improve the supply of gas for electricity generation to contribute to reliability and security?
  • How can we ensure that competitive retail markets are effective and consumers are paying no more than necessary for electricity?
  • What are the optimal governance structures to support system security, the integration of energy and emissions reduction policy, and affordable electricity?

As background, the report describes the National Electricity Market. It's impressive, but needs changing to allow for the massive shift to renewable energy in coming years:
The National Electricity Market (NEM) is the longest geographically connected power system in the world, supplying the states and territories of eastern and southern Australia – Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. It generates around 200 terawatt hours of electricity annually, accounting for around 80 per cent of Australia’s electricity consumption. 

If you remember all the mutterings about how wind turbines caused the storm in South Australia last year (or just as silly), here is how the states compare in regard to sources of electricity right this minute (including South Australia) - the NEM time is Australian Eastern Standard time (not with daylight saving):

From the WUWT comments

There are the usual comments from conspiracy theorists and luddites at WUWT. In among them were some gems. Peter boasts how he's shifting to renewables, with a petrol generator as backup. But he's not a "Greenie nut" - oh, no:
January 2, 2017 at 1:28 pm
Queensland is promising to follow South Australia’s example. I should be totally off grid this year. I have a nice little petrol generator to back up my system. When I started to move off grid, doing it in stages, I never expected for the system to pay for itself. I am moving to an isolated beach shack, in the tropics.
My University student daughter recently have a $700- power bill in South Australia. With price rises in Queensland, my system will be more reliable, and pay for itself.
I fear for my country (Australia) with the Greenie nuts in charge.

Broadie says the right wing Turnbull (Abbott lookalike) government is a "One Party Socialist Utopia":
January 2, 2017 at 3:17 pm
Even James Delingpole has had to mock Australia in his recent podcast. Australia is in effect a One Party Socialist Utopia and is fast running out of other peoples money.
The Parliaments are full of beady-eyed solicitors loyal to ‘The Party’ and, beholden to Party pre-selection for their station above their worth in life.
The solution is to stop paying Politicians and to end the funding of Parties out of the public purse. Democracy isn’t a science and should be returned to the wham, bam and crash of community chook raffle style fund raising. This is the only way to return control of our country to representatives with some exposure to the effects of the Laws they introduce.

gnome knows where the Finkel report was heading, unlike Eric Worrall. (On page 22 of the report, the authors write about the need to bring in policies that assure business certainty and policy stability.):
January 2, 2017 at 2:39 pm
Finkel was tasked to examine the reliability of energy supply considering the extra renewables coming on line. His report somehow suggested that an emissions trading scheme would be a good thing.
The whole exercise was a waste of time and money, but a good indication of how useful Finkel is as a government adviser.

TA is another one who regards our increasingly right-leaning conservative government as "Leftwing/Green". He or she is misinformed at best:
January 2, 2017 at 2:41 pm
Why do Australians elect these fools who keep costing them more money? Australians ought to be out marching in the streets in protest of their climbing electric bills. These Leftwing/Green politicians are unbelievably misguided. How long will it be before someone figures this out? 

Crakar24  isn't all that aware of marches in Australia. However he or she is right that our people did demonstrate for carbon mitigation. And it's true that there is talk of a split by extreme right wingers, though it would be unlikely to help the mainstream conservative government if it happened:
January 2, 2017 at 4:12 pm
The last time Australians marched in the streets was to demand the government impose a carbon tax so let’s not do any marching for now.
The good news is we are one election away from a brexit/trump result. The old two party monopoly us all but gone in fact rumour’s have it the conservatives in the “conservative” party are going to split create a true conservative option.
Could get interesting over the next 12 or so months.

Nick Stokes sets out options as he sees it, as a challenge to the free marketers at WUWT:
January 2, 2017 at 4:15 pm
Dr Finkel is simply pointing out a problem. Solar is becoming cheaper. It is attractive for increasing nubers of people to install their own, and reduce reliance on the grid. That means that an increasing numbr of poorer people, who don’t have that option, will be those that have to rely on it.
So what can be done. Only really three options:
1. Laissez faire. The poorer are slugged with the costs of maintaining and powering the grid, while others install solar. It costs them more, with possibly decreasing reliability.
2. Forbid or discourage the use of solar. That enlarges the pool of people who use and maintain the grid. It is a form of tax on those who would prefer solar, and are denied the benefits.
3. Allow solar, but accept, as has been the past custom, that maintenance of an affordable grid is a social responsibility, so taxpayers contribute.
I can see who would prefer 1 and 3. But who likes 2? 

Chimp doesn't object to rebates for fossil fuels, but does object to subsidising wind and solar. He's also said lots about China, which has little to do with Australia, except that they buy our coal albeit not as much as before:
January 2, 2017 at 4:23 pm
What should not be done is to subsidize wind and solar, with their horrific environmental impacts both installed on site and during manufacture in China. Not to mention the economic lunacy of not selling clean, high BTU American coal from “death trains” to China, which instead burns its crummy, dirty coal, spreading “black carbon” in the Arctic. 

Jer0me had a thought about "donestic solar gas" whatever that is. The reason "so few people seem to realise this" is because it's not true. At least not in Australia, where more people from lower income regions installed solar than those in wealthier regions.
January 2, 2017 at 5:00 pm
Subsidised donestic solar gas been the biggest and most obvious transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich (I mean poorish to richish, not the cash grab by mega rich of solar and wind farms) that I’ve ever seen. The ones who can’t afford solar panels have to pay extra for those who can.
My only confusion is why so few people seem to realise this. 

References and further reading

Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market - Department of the Environment and Energy - including link to the Finkel report and how to make a submission

Rooftop solar uptake still highest in low-income Australia - article By Sophie Vorrath at Renew Economy - 29 April 2014


  1. The nonsense coming from Eric and the usual suspects brings to mind the following epigram:
    “When you're dead you feel no pain. It's painful and difficult for those around you. The same applies when you make stupid statements.” (With thanks to Bill Nye and Ricky Gervais.)

  2. I see the Republicans are making good on their policy of removing regulations that obstruct business and commerce.

    They are starting with the regulator that stops business from bribing politicians.


    1. This is *very* worrying.

      And so far, nobody seems to be taking much notice. There should be public protests *today* in the US.

    2. Well, I believe Kelly Anne Conway has reassured people that it doesn't mean there won't *ever* be any ethical behaviour. Sometimes, on occasion, there might be.

    3. Well, people drink on the job and accidents can happen.


  3. As a Canadian I was interested in this posting.

    I lived in Ft McMurray for one year.....

    I could never understand why any sane person in Canada would worry about global warming given the bitter cold winter temperatures

    Catcracking must have missed the fact that about 80k people were evacuated from Ft. McMurray due to forest fires which look suspiciously like they are partly caused by climate change.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Sou, pleeeeeaaaase remove the link to that crank website (geoengineeringwatch). It's unbecoming of hotwhopper.

    3. Agreed, it is a notorious chemtrailer website

    4. Sorry - I wasn't aware. How about The Guardian instead:


      And NASA, for more context:


    5. Infinitely more credible!

    6. Here's the original article from the offensive site (it was just a copy of this Reuters article).


      And some of the photos from it, at Natural Resources Canada.


      The article seems to be credible enough, however next time I'll be more careful with the website as a whole.

    7. Similarly, Nunavut's population has electricity that is 100% diesel, except for a few solar panels. Heating is basically all heating oil -- most (maybe all?) of the population is north of tree line. There's some wind and hydro, but only for the mines; there's no grid connections between mines and towns (nor between towns -- which leads to Kimmirut, just 100km from Iqaluit, having electricity at twice the cost).

      Climate change should make it easier to send things by ship, which is good since the permafrost is melting, so a lot of buildings will need to be rebuilt as the land under their stilts shifts. There's no road network to rebuild though.

      Renewables -- and insulation -- are likely to reduce energy dependence.

      Interestingly, there does not seem to be a culture of thriftiness. Most the bulbs I see are incandescent, people buy huge trucks and leave them idling several minutes to warm up for their daily 2km commute, etc.

    8. And don't forget airships. Yes it's Qu├ębec not NWT but the principle is much the same.

  4. Subsidised donestic solar gas been the biggest...

    I think that is just typos: "Subsidized domestic solar has been the biggest..." parses quite well.

    One thing I find increasingly interesting is the extreme tribalism in modern conservatism. A lot of conservative voters vote for modern conservatives yet express values like fiscal conservatism, anti-corruption*, helping the working poor deal with the modern economy, and so on -- which are the things that the modern left-wing is all about.

    A few US friends keep describing themselves as disappointed Republican voters and can't decide whether to vote Democratic of Republican. Their values are the Democratic party platform -- but each of them is a Republican for several generations!

    One of the key disconnects is climate change and the war on science more broadly. Reality being so opposite to ideology does cause some thinking sometimes. Unfortunately, modern centrist parties are so scared to offend that they can't seem to explain their party platform.

    (* Of course, leave any one party in power long enough and it will engage in corrupt practices no matter its ideological leanings. Best to have several parties in each wing.)


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