By Andrew Bolt ~
The Australian Labor Party wants to force the country to switch to 50 per cent green power – almost all of it unreliable wind and solar – by 2030, or just 13 years from now.
How mad is that? New South Wales (NSW) was baked by a heat wave on the weekend, and relied on coal and gas for 93 per cent of its electricity to escape blackouts, with more fossil-fuel power pumped in from interstate.
How can Labor demand probably 10 times more wind power when South Australia has just shown what happens when you rely so much on a power source that dies when the wind stops?
Yesterday’s extreme heat after Friday’s high temperatures delivered the largest Saturday power demand in NSW in six years … and saw the State load at 13,402 megawatts just before 5pm, leaving 1,352 MW of available spare capacity. This, to quote the Duke of Wellington in an entirely different context, was a “damn’d near-run thing” as it also was on Friday.
I have been mildly amused to note assertions about what power source “saved NSW,” the Clean Energy Council claiming in a tweet yesterday that on Friday it was solar power.
Paul McArdle of WattClarity, in a post on Saturday, provided this breakdown of Friday’s actual NSW power production: out of a total of 243,870 megawatt hours, coal generation, even though hampered by two units of the Liddell power station being out of service with boiler problems, contributed 179,724 MWh versus 27,369 MWh from hydro and 21,2013 MWh from gas. The input from all solar was 8,661 MWh and wind 6,797 MWh. This comes out as 73.7 per cent coal-fired power, 11.2 per cent hydro and 8.7 per cent gas, a total of 93 per cent of the load from conventional generation.
One must not forget that the State also needed to access the interconnectors with Victoria and Queensland over the weekend (as it does most of the time) — with the Queensland Energy Minister claiming that his State “saved NSW” on Friday because there was 1,100 MW of QNI capacity available at the critical time…
Coming back to the broader picture, we constantly run the risk … of failing to face up to the real challenges of maintaining system security and keeping prices affordable (not “cheap”) in a market designed for coal, hydro and gas generation that continues to be force-fed variable renewables. This is the main game.
One of the twists that needs recognition is that, while SA events have encouraged much comment that the NEM is “badly broken and in need of urgent attention,” developments in NSW over the past two days indicate that the system (with its many components) still works under great stress.
Congratulations to Scott Morrison for putting the coal back into Coalition. This he did in an entertaining stunt in Parliament last week, when he wandered in clutching a large chunk of black coal.
“Don’t be afraid, don’t be scared,” he taunted Labor, “This is coal. It was dug up by men and women who live and work in the electorates of those who sit opposite.”
Andrew Bolt writes for the Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph, and The Advertiser and runs Australia’s most-read political blog. On week nights he hosts The Bolt Report on Sky News at 7pm and his Macquarie Radio show at 8pm with Steve Price.