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Electricity Prices Double In S Australia & Victoria

January 30, 2018

By Paul Homewood



Australians are paying the cost of their politicians’ obsession with renewables.

From The Australian (behind a paywall unfortunately):


Average wholesale energy prices in Victoria and South Australia have more than doubled since this time last year, as experts warn that blackouts and supply issues are likely to increase as state governments chase ­aggressive ­renewable energy ­targets.

More than 2000 Victorian households remained without power yesterday after two days of heat triggered equipment failures and blackouts, opening up distributors to compensation claims.

The mass outages affected more than 60,000 residents, some of whom were cut off for more than 28 hours.

The outages struck as new data showed the average wholesale energy price in Victoria climbed to $139 this month, up from $62 in January last year. In South Australia, the wholesale average price for January climbed to almost $170, up from $84 a year ago, whereas prices fell in NSW and Queensland to about $75.

The pricing data has angered energy experts, who say blackouts and supply ­issues are likely to increase and prices are likely to rise as the Victorian and South Australian governments pursue renewable energy targets without prioritising power sources that can supply baseload power.




Grattan Institute energy ­director Tony Wood said Sunday’s and Monday’s blackouts and high pricing showed that the state had botched its energy transition program by allowing baseload power sources — such as the Hazelwood power station — to be replaced by renewables, which delivered intermittent power.

“We’re dealing with a complex transition and it hasn’t been ­managed very well so far,” Mr Wood said. “That’s why we’ve seen local outages and high prices on the weekend, and that’s the reason why wholesale prices are substantially higher this year than last year.

“It’s a reflection of a failed policy. We’re transitioning away from centralised, cheap but dirty power stations, but we’re not ­replacing these stations with sources that are just as stable.”

The Andrews government last year broke away from other states and territories by instituting its own Victorian Renewable Energy Target, with a plan for renewables to power 40 per cent of the state’s energy needs by 2025.

Mr Wood said the energy supply could get patchier and the state could emerge as a net importer of electricity as the government replaced coal-fired power stations with solar and wind and other intermittent power sources, which did not fire 24 hours a day.

Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg confirmed that the weekend power outages were the result of distribution rather than supply issues, but said the state government needed to do more to boost reliability.

He urged Victorian Premier Daniel ­Andrews to rethink the ­renewable energy target while branding South Australia’s renewables plan an experiment gone “horribly wrong”.

“Reliability standards for networks are set by state governments,” Mr Frydenberg said. “AEMO (Australian Energy Market Operator) have highlighted that supply in Victoria is tight and that is why we have called upon the Andrews government to drop its reckless state-based renewable energy targets and mindless bans on gas.

“Jay Weatherill’s ‘big experiment’ has gone horribly wrong. South Australia has the highest prices and the least stable energy system in the country and, despite the bravado in the lead-up to summer, their energy problems remain. Just a couple of weeks ago, South Australia’s prices reached $14,200 a megawatt hour, while at the same time they were $89 a MWh in NSW and $85 MWh in Queensland.

“The wind turbines, which can produce 100 per cent of energy on one day and zero on another, were not blowing when needed most, providing less than 5 per cent of power and Jay Weatherill’s big battery less than 1 per cent.”

Australian Power Project chief executive Nathan Vass warned that Victoria’s energy supply with a larger proportion of renewables likely would have buckled under conditions such as those of Sunday night.

“Batteries and solar would not have saved Victoria as over 17,000 Victorians had no power throughout the night, when the sun isn’t shining,” Mr Vass said.

“Pairing renewables with battery storage wouldn’t have done much to alleviate the blackout. By way of example, the Tesla battery facility in South Australia only provides power for an hour to 30,000 homes.”

Release of the wholesale pricing data in South Australia — and data showing South Australia still has the highest prices in the National Electricity Market — prompted state opposition energy spokesman Dan van Holst Pellekaan to savage a claim by Mr Weatherill that his $550 million “self-sufficient” energy plan was producing the lowest power prices in the national market.

“South Australians are furious about the outrageous price of electricity they pay and tired of the Weatherill government’s refusal to accept responsibility,” Mr van Holst Pellekaan said.;_ylu=X3oDMTByMWk2OWNtBGNvbG8DaXIyBHBvcwMyBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg–/RV=2/RE=1517348447/RO=10/

  1. A C Osborn permalink
    January 30, 2018 2:35 pm

    Good, I hope the peasants revolt.

    • January 30, 2018 2:44 pm

      I wish, but I don’t see it coming unless the temperatures stay hot and the electricity stays off. It would take a week or so to get people riled enough to act and it’s unlikely that will happen. As soon as the A/C is back, brains go dead and no one remembers.

    • January 31, 2018 8:34 am

      Sadly I agree with “Reality Check” Victorian voters think Buggerlugs Andrews is the man! Even with this fiasco the opposition Idiot cannot lay a glove on him. Most people would like to get rid of them both but for different reasons.

  2. Dave Vought permalink
    January 30, 2018 2:37 pm

    Prices up to $14,200 a megawatt hour.
    How do these politicians and the highly paid consultants still have a job. Surely there is a way to get them removed for wrecking their States, other than waiting for the next election.
    They have sucked on the taxpayers teet long enough.

  3. January 30, 2018 2:42 pm

    “We’re dealing with a complex transition and it hasn’t been ­managed very well so far,” Translation: We tried selling unicorns and fairies and the people found out.

    $50 million for a battery that provides one hour’s electricity. Some would call that a fool’s purchase. Not Elon, of course. He dearly loves fools with money that they are soon separated from. Alchemy and magic make a return to the world in the form of government crony capitalism.

  4. Bloke down the pub permalink
    January 30, 2018 2:51 pm

    Paul, many of your readers may find this of interest.
    It includes use of molten salt to balance power from SMR in order to overcome the poor reliability of renewables.

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      January 30, 2018 8:01 pm

      Thanks for the link. I know from nothing about nuclear reactors but if what they describe here actually works as they claim there seems to be potential for a way forward for cheap, safe, reliable energy which should satisfy everyone except those who believe that cheap, safe, reliable energy is the problem and CO2 and global warming are only an excuse.

      One (perhaps not so) minor point. If you are planning an energy revolution the very least you can do in your glossy publications is to correct your typos —especially those (transposed letters) that the most basic spellchecker would have picked up. It does not inspire confidence!

    • Curious George permalink
      January 30, 2018 10:28 pm

      Absolutely great. Where can I see a working prototype?

      • Gamecock permalink
        January 31, 2018 4:43 pm

        At Oak Ridge 60+ years ago. It’s been just around the corner ever since.

      • February 1, 2018 12:53 pm

        One of my older brothers received his PhD in nuclear physics from the University of Rochester in 1960 and went to the Oak Ridge National Laboratories. He worked on the problem of space craft navigating through sun spot episodes–conclusion: don’t; you cannot lift the craft off the ground if you put enough sheathing on it for protection.

        I had just entered high school at the time and remember Oak Ridge which really had no town and had fences and gates and guard houses. He met my sister-in-law there as she was in another lab having done a Fulbright in Melbourne, Australia in genetics. They still live in the area. Mary is from SC. My PhD is from the other “Carolina.”

  5. January 30, 2018 2:54 pm

    To the people of South Australia: welcome to the Third World. Your friendly local government will no doubt soon issue schedules showing when electric power will be available and for how long. Residents are encouraged to plan their daily activities, such as washing and cooking, around these schedules. Please note that in order to conserve resources in your new Green Energy state, most domestic activities will be scheduled for the 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. slot.

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      January 30, 2018 8:36 pm

      Roger Graves:
      The schedule for rolling blackouts in S.A. has been published (obscurely) listing the roster of suburbs to be affected. I am told the order changes monthly as the top block goes to the bottom of the list.

  6. January 30, 2018 3:19 pm

    Whats the % of ‘unreliables’ in the SA / Victoria mix ???

    • Joe Public permalink
      January 30, 2018 5:29 pm

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      January 30, 2018 8:51 pm

      Not known. It was 40% in 2016 in South Australia and some extra turbines have been added, and theoretically 47%** (It can be as low as 3%). Victoria is less but I cannot find a reliable figure.

      **The AEMO has forced S.A. to run enough CCGT gas fired capacity to provide a stable base, around 600MW. The remainder of S.A.’s usual base load of 1100-1600MW is available for wind. Any extra output from wind is sent via interconnector to Victoria.
      OCGTs start up when the wind fails (at a cost) and brown coal fired power is imported (at a cost) from Victoria (who import hydro from Tasmania and the Snowy scheme, and black coal fired from NSW).

    • January 31, 2018 9:01 am

      Thanks guys, good data is hard to find;

      As ‘renewables’ are the way to save the planet (from itself), you’d think the greens would be releasing the data & basking in all the glory of its success…

  7. January 30, 2018 3:32 pm

    Bully boy SA Party Boss Jay Weatherill is very belligerent about imposing renewables and fully deserves to have some belligerence returned with interest…

    He has made renewables a central pillar of Labour policy and he isn’t going to give up the ideological capital invested in it without a fight.

    • January 30, 2018 7:53 pm

      When dogma meets reality, only one can win. Place your bets…

      • January 30, 2018 9:15 pm

        having YouTubed too much Weatherill – I’m really looking forward to a tasty dish of schadenfreude with trimmings

  8. Athelstan permalink
    January 30, 2018 3:36 pm

    This is what tends to happen when a greenwashed electorate vote for free moonbeams, and ‘them’ – the pols, ie people who have substitued their ‘grey matter’ for sustainably sourced roo pooh.

    I’d get ’em (the pols) all out to the reefs to start painting over bleached coral reefs – when the tide is in.

  9. January 30, 2018 3:53 pm

    Some country (or state) had to be the first to demonstrate the insanity of going all out for “green” electricity at the expense of doing away with baseload and despatchable sources. Unfortunately there are lots of lemming countries around; Scotland, Germany, the UK, Ireland to name the first few. Will the lessons be learned? No evidence so far.

    • January 30, 2018 7:44 pm

      Not sure when Australia but I am pretty sure Ontario Canada green energy policy preceded theirs by enough for everybody to see the inherent problems and incredible expense.

      • dave permalink
        January 30, 2018 8:17 pm

        When I first visited Toronto in Ontario in 1967:

        (1) The gas was CHEAP (Thanks to Alberta and Trans-Canada Pipeline).

        (2) The electricity was CHEAP (Thanks to Winnett Boyd and Candu and Uranium).

        (3) The public transport was CHEAP (Thanks to TTC and also to London Transport for sending cast-off trains).

        (4) Houses were CHEAP (Thanks to sensible land-development policies).

        When did it all go wrong?

      • February 1, 2018 12:45 pm

        Dave wants to know “When did it all go wrong?” When liberals were allowed control.

        Look at the US states and cities where liberals rule and you are looking at a train wreck.

    • January 31, 2018 1:15 pm

      France decided to go again full nuclear again with the new president after the previous one decided to do a Germany like shutdown of reactors. Some lemmings do stop before the abyss. there is still hope

  10. Keitho permalink
    January 30, 2018 4:06 pm

    These folk love an ideal more than they love people. It is an outrage and they must be punished at the ballot box.

  11. January 30, 2018 5:31 pm

    Maybe part of the problem is that many Australians have bought the lie, so therefore believe that they don’t have an alternative. Surely they can’t all be willing to become climate martyrs?

  12. markl permalink
    January 30, 2018 5:44 pm

    All part of “the plan” and there seems to be enough useful idiots in SA to carry it out. Next they’ll tell you that industrial electricity usage is the cause of power outages and rising costs. Soon what industry remains will be nationalized to ‘save the people’ and “the plan” will come full circle. With what little wind and solar power provides the grid with energy today and all the problems it’s causing just wait …. it will get worse, much worse.

    • January 30, 2018 11:14 pm

      you didn”t hear about Melbourne twinning with Caracas then?

  13. Harry Passfield permalink
    January 30, 2018 6:43 pm

    It wouldn’t be so bad (of course it is, it’s crap), but TPTB in S.A. only need to provide leccy to a population of 1.7 million people! What would they be like with control over ten times that number? Bloody criminals!

    • Athelstan permalink
      January 30, 2018 7:11 pm


      x 40…………….I’ve feeling that the UK is about to find out.

  14. Graeme No.3 permalink
    January 30, 2018 9:06 pm

    S.A. has an election on March 17. The Labor govt. is (deservedly) shaky but the Liberal opposition is no better and keeps claiming that it is in favour of renewables (it also has the handicap of a leader widely regarded as useless and the bigger handicap of the current Prime Minister). There is a third force SABest, also in favour of renewables, who will win seats and probably hold the balance of power. As both major parties have ruled out being a minority government the result is likely to be a mess. (I expect that with a chance at further power Weatherill’s opposition will last a few milli-seconds).
    So S.A. may well continue to provide an example of the stupidity of renewables. The following shows how “successful” renewables have been:

    • January 30, 2018 9:44 pm

      Even a fossil-fuel friendly govt will not bring forth any more proper power stations, because of the threat that the policy will be reversed when “Planet Savers” get back into power. Ultimately the govt will have to buy and and pay for the operation of proper power stations, hard to see how that is going to happen without major loss of power for several heatwaves.

  15. Coeur de Lion permalink
    January 30, 2018 10:22 pm

    What has happened to Australians? I’m just a soft Pom but my take on Australian men is that they are generous, rugged, outdoor, tough, gallant ( I have been to Gallipoli) and not likely to accept drivel. The women are tall, handsome, opinionated and not good news to get across if you value a quiet life. So what has happened, cobbers ? Whatever it is, unmake it.

  16. BLACK PEARL permalink
    January 30, 2018 11:04 pm

    Problem is most politicians appear NOT to be normal thinking people with commonsense, as the majority have better things to do with their lives.
    Thats how we end up with agenda driven NUT JOBS calling the shots for everyone else, with no value of money and business sense.
    Of coarse there are exceptions but they are usually swamped by the tribal party agenda in the hunger for votes & power.

  17. January 31, 2018 8:59 am

    the state had botched its energy transition program by allowing baseload power sources — such as the Hazelwood power station — to be replaced by renewables, which delivered intermittent power.

    But that’s exactly what the transition is designed to do, so what did they expect?

  18. January 31, 2018 11:16 am

    According to Jillian Ambrose, the UK is leading the race in Europe to be the first to run off the cliff. “UK beating EU in race to clean up energy system” and “the UK is leading the way on support for wind and solar power …. the UK is also scrapping high-carbon coal-fired power in favour of cleaner alternatives at a quicker rate than almost anywhere else in the EU”.

    • January 31, 2018 11:18 am

      Of course silly Jilly doesn’t realise the difference between baseload and intermittent renewables. In pace of coal “the UK is increasingly relying on renewable energy projects such as wind and solar farms”. Will she ever get it?

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        January 31, 2018 12:56 pm

        Phillip, have you ever written to her Editor and tried to put her (Jill) right? I’d love to know what kind of correspondence you had. 🤔

    • dennisambler permalink
      January 31, 2018 12:21 pm

      And they destroy the coal stations so they can’t be resurrected, as the Aussies did with Hazlewood:

    • January 31, 2018 12:29 pm

      Silly Jilly thinks she can recharge her Tesla overnight, from her home solar panels, ready for the morning’s commute to London…


  19. January 31, 2018 12:28 pm

    Yet Australia is happy to export 400 million tonnes of coal a year to the Far Est, including Japan and China. What do the Ozzie Greens think happens to the CO2 and other emissions from this coal? Do they think that Japan and China have chimneys that reach up to the Moon, and they dump the CO2 on the Moon?

    Distinct lack of logical thinking, which is not unusual for the Greens. They still think that renewables can generate oodles of power on calm winter nights…..


  20. Rowland H permalink
    January 31, 2018 12:49 pm

    While it is claimed that Aussies are responsible for high emissions per person, how would it work out per square kilometre? Pitifully small, I would suggest in comparison to, say, Great Britain. It’s all gesture politics – power, control and deliberately causing chaos.

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      January 31, 2018 8:30 pm

      Rowland H:
      The claim is to make people guilty, usually in the form “Australia has the highest emissions per capita in the World”. It isn’t true, Wikipedia (2013 data) has Australia 11TH. about the same as the USA which is of similar area. However area doesn’t seem a criterion as Trinidad & Tobago is over double Australia’s figure. Even Luxemburg is higher.

    • February 1, 2018 2:01 am

      “…how would it work out per square kilometre?”

      Or perhaps subtracting the emissions from coal, natural gas, iron ore and uranium mining (most is exported), plus emissions from farming exports would make a difference?
      Perhaps if anyone looked at overall emissions, it would make more sense to export steel instead of iron ore, aluminium instead of bauxite etc. But refining in Aus would increase Aus emissions, regardless of where the end-product goes.
      It’s kinda like EU rules preventing fishing in EU waters, but happy to import seafood from off the African coast where there are no rules…

  21. Gamecock permalink
    January 31, 2018 4:45 pm

    You people seem to put the people’s wants ahead of government needs. Intermittent, high priced electricity is a small price to pay for government glory.

  22. January 31, 2018 5:16 pm

    OT but just too good to avoid not passing on

    Q. Why do we need to stockpile recyclable material?

    A. Because nobody wants it.

    “The Committee is exploring the impact of the stockpiling of recyclable material and whether there is enough storage capacity to handle that material.”

    your taxes at work…..

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      January 31, 2018 8:32 pm

      In South Australia the recycling company has gone out of business due to the high cost of electricity, and unforeseen consequence of renewables?

  23. Bloke down the pub permalink
    January 31, 2018 5:43 pm

    January 31, 2018 4:43 pm
    There are a number of design differences in the linked pdf to the Oak Ridge original that should make it more practicable to produce and also more adaptable to the variability in the modern grid caused by renewables.

  24. February 1, 2018 12:55 pm

    The expression in the photo is what we here refer to as: “Bambi in the headlights.”

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