Today, Sunday 10th July 2011, the Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, unveiled proposed legislation to place a cost on the emissions of Carbon Dioxide (CO2).
To hide the fact that the Tax is on a naturally occurring gas we all breathe, both in and out, she’s given it a trendy name to obscure the fact that it is indeed only CO2, by referring to it as a ‘Price On Pollution’.
The largest emitters of this CO2 gas are those large scale coal fired power plants, and this is where this Tax is aimed at directly. 36% of all CO2 emissions come from the generation of electrical power.
The intent of this legislation is to lower those emissions, but the Prime Minister has been so blinded by the amount of money to be made from this, she’s just flat out not even bothered to check her facts.
So then, let’s just look at some of those facts shall we?
This list is of the top Companies by emissions.
Prime Minister Gillard originally planned to Tax the top 1,000 emitters, but to ensure that the people who are keeping her in Minority Government stay onside and allow her to get her hands on all that money, the Greens and the Independents, she compromised, and now it’s just the top 500 Companies by emission, or as she artfully now refers to them as, ‘the Top 500 Polluters’.
There’s no need to show the list of all 500, because these top 20 will be providing the bulk of the money.
Notice the small black squares alongside some of those Companies. That indicates that those Companies are suppliers of electrical power on a large scale.
The first 4 names on that list and 14 of those Top 20 names there are large scale electricity providers, and the amount they will be giving the Government comes in at almost $4.5 Billion, just from the electrical power generating Companies.
She tells us that she will be giving back 50% of all money raised to almost 90% of households in Australia, and that amount will almost cover the increased cost of their electricity bills, because those electrical power generating Companies will be passing that increase directly down to all consumers.
One of the things that Julia didn’t check was the actual consumption of electricity, because only 38% of all power being consumed is in that Residential sector, with 37% in Commerce, and 24% in the Industrial sector.
So Julia is magnanimously giving back the money to consumers to cover their increased bills, and a little bit extra she tells us.
However, those other two sectors will not be compensated for the increases in their electricity accounts, and the extra they pay will then also be passed onto consumers in everything they purchase, because every shop falls into the commerce sector, and everywhere people work falls into Commerce and Industry. Every consumer of electricity will pay.
That leads us into the next area where Julia failed to check her facts.
This chart is of actual power consumption on a time based scale.
The hours in a day go across the page and the total percentage of power required is on the vertical axis. This chart is similar across the whole of the Western World wherever there is a constant and regulated supply of electricity. The orange line indicates power consumption for the Summer Months and the blue line is for Winter. The black line across the page shows that everything below that line is being consumed 24/7/365, and that line is around 60 to 65%, indicating that for every Watt of power being generated, almost two thirds of that is required for 24 hours of every day.
All of that absolute requirement is currently being supplied by large scale coal fired power plants, as you can see on that pie chart at the right here, which shows where all the electrical power in Australia is being generated, and this shows those amounts by actual consumption. By the way, this chart is from the same Labor Government seeking to introduce this new tax, so it’s not something conveniently plucked out of the ether to make a point.
Coal fired power makes up 76.3%. When you also add in the power generated from Natural gas, which also emits CO2, that total comes up to 92.2%. Add in the oil fired sector and that total from all CO2 emitting power generation comes in at 93%.
So, Julia’s great big new tax is aimed to raise its money from electrical power production, what Julia refers to as the ‘big polluters’, not as providers of what is an absolutely essential service, but from entities she sees as deliberately seeking to in effect kill us all.
So, will the introduction of this tax do what she tells us it will, reduce those emissions?
Well, no, it wont, and again, here’s where Julia (again) failed to check her facts, blinded by the huge income this tax will generate.
Those large scale coal fired power plants supply the huge amounts of power to keep the Country actually running.
A large scale power plant just cannot burn less coal, hence emitting less CO2.
Those large scale plants run at their maximum rate ALL the time.
Those huge generators, some weighing up to 1350 tons, and rotating at 3000RPM, or 50 times a second, have to keep doing that. They either rotate at that speed or shut down completely. They cannot run up and down at a whim. When they do shut one generator down at a time for routine maintenance, other smaller plants have to come on line for that time to cover the huge amount of electricity being lost from the grids.
Even if on the very rare occasion when demand falls, and those huge levels of power are not required, the plant cannot cut back on its emissions. Because of the huge weight of the generator/turbine complex, it just has to be kept turning over at its maximum rate all the time, because it takes days to run the generator back up to the required speed, so, even when on the rare occasions that plant is not supplying power from one of its up to four or eight generators, those emissions will remain constant. There will NEVER be a time when all the generators at one plant are turned off.
That immense weight of the generator is driven by a huge (and also quite heavy) 3 stage turbine.
To drive that, immense amounts of high temperature, high pressure steam are required to make that turbine actually turn over at that rate.
To ‘make’ that steam, there has to be a huge furnace to generate the immense heat required to produce that steam.
To feed that furnace, crushed coal is forced in with air. In those large scale coal fired plants, the crushed coal is being burned at the rate of one ton every four and a half seconds.
Anything less than that, and the plant stops. Full stop. No correspondence entered into.
On average, as each one ton of coal is burned, 2.86 tons of CO2 is emitted.
So, the plant either emits what it always does, or it stops.
If it stops, well, problem solved say those green urging ‘friends of the dirt’. No emissions. Also, no electrical power. Huge amounts of electrical power are removed from the grids.
Imagine if you will what happens then.
Absolute chaos. Remove that power from the grid, and other plants, now hopelessly overloaded also move into shutdown mode, leading to cascading power failures all across that grid.
No electrical power …… no, well, no nothing.
Imagine the fury when that happens.
Straight away, the people will look to who caused that, and Julia, all eyes will turn towards you.
If those large scale power plants go offline, that will amount to political suicide.
So, this huge new tax is aimed squarely at a target that cannot do anything to actually achieve what she tells us it will, that being to reduce emissions.
Keeping in mind that those large scale plants are either running at their maximum, or stopped, she has made provisions in the legislation to ensure security of electrical power delivery, as it is artfully termed.
If those plants fall into economic difficulties, she has made provisions for that.
Remember, those plants are now virtually worthless, because of the huge new impost on them each and every year, so plant operators cannot just up and sell them off, because the value of the asset has diminished almost to zero. This also affects the operators ability to borrow using the value of their asset, the Plant itself, as collateral to service loans needed to purchase the Thermal coal to operate the plant, up to 6 million tons a year at the going rate for Thermal coal, currently around $50 per ton. In some cases large scale plants are built at the site of a coal mine, but for plants not near a mine, they also have to pay transportation costs for that coal on top again. That coal is delivered by rail, huge trains one kilometre long hauling 100 hoppers and pulled by 5 locomotives, each hopper holding 100 tons, hence 10,000 tons of coal, and the rate of delivery for large scale coal fired plants is one of these train loads every day, and that also is not cheap.
So, bean counters might just add two and two, and find it’s not worthwhile to stay in operation.
In the proposed legislation, loans will be made available to operators who do fall into difficulty.
So let me see if I have this right.
The intent of the legislation is to reduce those CO2 emissions. If the plant closes down, then those emissions have indeed fallen, in fact all the way back to zero.
That means that the source of income FOR the government, (those taxed CO2 emissions) is now not available, so the Government loses a huge amount of income to give away to prospective voters in the form of compensation. It has however achieved its aim, that of lowering emissions.
So, here’s what the Government is doing.
It taxes the plant operator for its emissions, and if they have problems, the Government will then give them loans enabling them to stay in operation, and thus, to keep emittting. Somewhere in all of that is a form of logic I am completely missing.
We are also told that the intent of introducing this tax is to drive the move to the use of renewables to replace that coal fired power, and in fact there is provision in the legislation for an amount of around $2 Billion each year to be put aside for renewables.
This is something so patently impossible, that it is almost laughable, and I explain that at the following Post:
The three most recently announced renewable power plants will cost around $3.3 Billion and the Government is subsidising half of the original construction cost.
The total power supplied from all three plants is less than 14% of the actual power currently being delivered from JUST ONE coal fired power plant, Bayswater, and while Bayswater delivers its power 24/7/365, the best these three renewables can achieve is a theoretical maximum of 9 hours a day at the absolute best.
So, this new Tax fails to do anything we are being told that it WILL do.
You would think that being Prime Minister of Australia would give you access to reliable and accurate information.
I mean, this is all technical stuff, so no one would suggest that she should know any of it.
However, surely she has access to people who can advise her of things like this.
No, there’s too much money to be made from this.
That trumps everything.
When people finally realise some of these things, there really can only be that one conclusion.
She really is clueless.
Trouble is, we all pay for it.