By Andrew Bolt ~
We have been betrayed. Next week the giant Hazelwood coal-fired power station will be shut by our politicians’ global-warming policies.
Hazelwood generates up to 20 per cent of Victoria’s electricity and 5 per cent of Australia’s.
It is also a key back-up for South Australia, now desperately short of its own electricity.
Just the news of its closure has already driven up electricity bills in Victoria by up to 10 per cent, and will add 7 per cent to bills in South Australia.
All this has been caused by state and federal policies to force us to use more green energy, especially wind power, instead of the coal-fired power, whose carbon dioxide emissions are said to cause dangerous global warming.
But consider: Hazelwood has been generating more electricity than all Australia’s wind farms combined.
Its electricity is also cheaper and more reliable.
Meanwhile, two other coal-fired generators in South Australia have already been closed, largely because of that state’s own global-warming policies.
Since then, South Australia has been so dangerously dependant on unreliable wind power that it has twice suffered massive blackouts — one when the winds blew too hard and wind farms tripped the whole system, and the other when the winds didn’t blow at all.
These facts alone scream out that what politicians are doing to our electricity supply is the worst vandalism perpetrated on our economic system in our lifetimes.
This damage is now becoming so obvious and so imminent that our politicians are panicking.
They have finally worked out that passing green policies to put coal-fired power stations out of business actually means running out of electricity. Geniuses!
So last week, two governments announced emergency plans to keep on our lights.
First, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said he’d build a new 250-megawatt gas-fired plant plus what he proudly boasted was perhaps the world’s biggest battery.
But beware. Weatherill’s 100-megawatt battery is expected to cost more than $100 million, yet is still only big enough to power a town for a couple of hours.
That 100 megawatts of battery power is actually not that much when South Australia on a hot day needs more than 3000, and not just for an hour or so.
No wonder Weatherill cracked it a couple of days later when his battery was trumped by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in his own emergency package.
Turnbull said he was considering a scheme to produce 20 times the power of Weatherill’s battery, albeit at 20 times the price — $2 billion.
And his battery would not last for just a couple of hours but a week.
Turnbull’s battery is actually a pumped-hydro scheme — in which water in a low-lying dam in the Snowy scheme is pumped up to a higher one when demand for electricity is low. At night, for instance.
Then, when electricity is needed most, the water is allowed to flow back to the lower dam to create hydro-electricity.
But there are good reasons why even some Turnbull ministers seem far from keen, and why Turnbull has promised only to examine the scheme.
First, though: why are our politicians putting coal-fired power stations out of business without anything ready to take their place? Turnbull’s scheme would take years to build.
And why shut our coal-fired generators when their emissions are so tiny in world terms that they make no measurable difference to global temperatures?
But there are also questions about Turnbull’s scheme itself.
Why spend $2 billion on this new Snowy scheme when we have a perfectly good Hazelwood coal-fired generator we could save from being mothballed?
And why spend that $2 billion on a scheme that in fact costs more electricity than it produces?
Professor Andrew Blakers, head of an Australian National University group which studied pump hydro, estimates it costs 20 per cent more electricity to pump water uphill than you get from the hydro-electricity produced when it flows back down.
Why not spend that $2 billion on something that doesn’t just store electricity but produce it — a gas or “clean” coal generator?
And that’s even before we work out how this scheme to store water for electricity would work in a drought, when farmers down the Murray would be desperate for that water for irrigation.
So sum up: to pretend to fix what they pretend is a global-warming crisis, our politicians have forced shut our coal-fired generators without first making sure we’d have enough electricity to keep going.
Now they offer hugely expensive schemes they pretend will fix what they pretend they didn’t break.
Please pretend to thank them.
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.