Blackouts and baseload: Debunking myths of AEMO reports and Liddell

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AEMO, like Finkel, provided Turnbull with a launch pad to push for a cleaner, smarter, cheaper and more reliable grid. Instead, the Coalition pined for traditional and outdated technologies. It’s time to bust a few myths about baseload and blackouts.

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Smog. Image: Pexels

The day after the release of the two key reports from the Australian Energy Market Operator last week – its annual Electricity Statement of Opportunities and the specially commissioned report on dispatchable generation requested by the federal government – RenewEconomy could barely believe what it read and heard in the media.

Consumers were being frightened into thinking that the lights were going out, the economy would collapse, and they’d all be better off going out to buy a generator and a supply of candles and batteries. The only possible solution to the crisis, we were told, was to stop renewable energy and keep the Liddell coal generator on line.

What was missed – in the fog of politics, ideologies and deliberate misinformation – were the fundamental messages of the two reports: that the energy system is transitioning quickly, and it is more or less unstoppable, because of the march of technologies and global trends.

This is not a bad thing, AEMO boss Audrey Zibelman underlined. But it does require some policy certainty and some co-ordination to ensure that Australia’s dirty, expensive and increasingly unreliable grid can be transformed into a smarter, cleaner, more reliable and cheaper source of power.

Because this message was largely buried by the media reporting and the political posturing, we thought it might be useful to go through some of the biggest electricity market myths and clarify a few points:

Is AEMO suggesting we need a new coal-fired power station?

No. and neither is anyone else outside the confines of the Liberal National Party and the Minerals Council of Australia, and some right wing commentators. So let’s move on.

Malcolm Turnbull says AEMO report shows Liddell is the only option to keep the lights on and to make sure Barnaby Joyce doesn’t get stuck in a lift without a bottle to pee in. Did it?

No, it didn’t. It referred obliquely to extending the life of some existing assets (which are not limited to generation), but it did not mention Liddell. And why would it?  As the document makes clear, AEMO wants more “dispatchable” resources (see below). They all need to be able to respond quickly to changes in demand and supply. Liddell cannot do that.

But Turnbull keeps on talking about “dispatchable baseload.” Is that a thing?

No, it’s like describing something as a “round square,” or trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It is being used as a marketing term like “clean coal” or “high efficiency coal”, neither of which exists.

Wikipedia’s definition is useful: “Dispatchable generation refers to sources of electricity that can be dispatched at the request of power grid operators or of the plant owner; that is, generating plants that can be turned on or off, or can adjust their power output accordingly to an order.”

And distpachable resources, as discussed by AEMO, goes beyond generation, and can include storage such as pumped hydro and batteries, behind the meter resources, flexible demand resources, or flexible network capability.

The key is flexibility. Baseload isn’t flexible, it cannot be easily turned on or off, and so is little use when a market operator needs to respond quickly to changes in supply and demand.

coal-digIs AGL wrong to close Liddell?

What was wrong about Liddell was selling it to AGL in the first place. The ACCC said at the time it was a bad idea and it would reduce competition and send prices up, and it tried to stop the transaction but it was over-ruled by the courts.

The geniuses in the NSW government effectively gave Liddell to AGL for free as part of its package with Bayswater. Great result: Give the plant away for nothing and watch competition contract and prices go up.

But AGL has given plenty of notice about Liddell’s closure – seven years – which is more than twice as long as the closure notice recommended by Finkel (three years).

Experts say this is more than enough time to find alternatives. The only reason that it might not be replaced by other capacity is the policy paralysis that prevents any investment signals, a point underlined in the AEMO report.

But surely Liddell is cheap and reliable. What’s wrong with keeping it open?

Because it is actually very old, very dirty and not very reliable. And as ITK analyst David Leitch points out, quite costly too. It has barely run at more than half of its capacity in recent years; has had frequent outages; and was unable to respond in the middle of the NSW heatwave last summer. AGL says it is expensive to maintain, and it is rapidly depleting its supply of cheap, subsidised coal.
What could replace it?
All sorts of different technologies. AGL has its own plans for replacing Liddell with solar, wind, pumped hydro, battery storage and some gas. Leitch put together his own theories about how that could be done and its costs.
But there are numerous other projects out there in the offering, from many other providers (which would be good for competition in the market).
After all, AGL signalled this withdrawal two years ago, so people have been thinking about their opportunities ever since. Apart from a huge pipeline of wind and solar projects, Transgrid is talking of two renewable energy spines mixed with storage in NSW. Others, like EnergyAustralia, Enernoc and a myriad other providers talk of demand management – a resource that, according to our Energy Security Board chair, could exist in such quantity that it would obviate the need for any new generation at all.
So AGL is the good guy in all of this?
Let’s not get carried away. The PM is right to question the bidding practices of AGL and other big generators, but the Coalition should have been doing over the last four years, and not suddenly use it as a tool to bully it into submission.
Let’s not forget, AGL only got into coal 5 years ago, and bought Liddell and Bayswater three years ago, and despite its protestations of wanting to make an exit from coal, it is making huge profits from the investment and plans on being the last one out of the coal generation industry with a planned 2048 closure of Loy Yang A.
But CEO boss Andy Vesey was right in refusing to buckle to Turnbull and Frydenberg and Joyce, and in pointing out that future investments lie in new technologies, not old ones.
Did AEMO warn of widespread blackouts?

No. Only if it sat on its hands and did nothing, and AEMO hasn’t been sitting on its hands and doing nothing. Its report highlights both the worst case scenario – a one in 10 year demand event – and assumes no action is taken.blackout grid independence

How bad are the blackouts going to be this summer?

Not as bad as you may have been told. The AEMO annual document, the Elecriticity Statement Of Opportunities is not a “blackout alert,” as some have interpreted it to be. It is a document that suggests where the opportunities may lie for new investment, usually by a predicted shortfall in the future

A few years ago, it said there were no such opportunities, because there was too much supply. So investors took the hint and closed some power stations, but the investment freeze in renewables and other technologies caused by the review of the RET and federal policy paralysis has left supply tight in Victoria and South Australia, and will do so in NSW if new investment remains frozen.

So, no blackouts then at all?

AEMO makes the point that no operator can guarantee 100 per cent supply all the time. There is always a risk of some catastrophic failure, big storms, bushfires, a lost interconnector or the sudden tripping of a big coal or gas plant.

But AEMO says it is confident it has done as much as it can to get ready for this summer, and it is urging politicians to give it the tools to put measures in place to deal with future issues, such as NSW.

The forecasts of unserved energy included in AEMO’s ESOO were a 26-33 per cent risk of load shedding in South Australia, with the possible loss of up to 97MW for between 2 to 4 hours.

But this assumes “without these actions” it has already taken – including the Tesla big battery, the state’s tender for demand management, and the emergency back-up generators, along with its instructions for more gas generators to run at all times.

The same applies for Victoria, where it talks of a 39 per cent to 43 per cent chance of up to 229MW load shedding over four to five hours – if none of the above actions had been taken.

To put that into context, its tender for demand management elicited interest of more than 1,00MW of capacity. And some providers think they can do that themselves.

And for NSW, where AEMO talks of a risk of up to 290MW of load shedding (out of total demand of 9,000MW) over a 2-6 hour period in 2022 – only applies in the improbable event that absolutely no action is taken between now and 2022.

So what is unserved energy?

It is an estimate of the potential shortfall in energy over a year. Australia has about the highest standard for “reliability” in the world – it is expected to meet demand 99.998 per cent of the time – and this has been the justification for much of the over-building of networks and the huge bills faced by consumers.

Imagine building a 50-lane Sydney Harbour Bridge to ensure there are no traffic jams at peak hour. That’s the approach that Australian energy regulators and policy makers have taken to the grid, and customers are paying for the privilege.

The forecasts of unserved energy are used by AEMO for both long-term indicators of investment opportunities (ESOO), and medium-term and short-term warnings are served by its MTPASA (medium term Projected Assessment of System Adequacy) and its series of forecast Lack of Reserve (LOR) advisories.

What are the solutions?

Smarter ones than we’ve had before. A lot more focus on demand management, which experts say could account for 30 per cent of electricity demand. For a really good explanation of “unserved energy”, and how it is calculated, read this over at WattClarity.

What did AEMO say was biggest threat to energy security?

There are two big threats identified by the AEMO report. One is not putting in place any policy to encourage dispatchable generation. The second is the failure of a big thermal unit at periods of critical peak demand, which it notes could increase the load-shedding risks in all states.

It even suggests that the loss of big generators is quite likely, given their vulnerability to extreme heat, and their performance last summer when units in South Australia and NSW failed, and units in other states had to shed capacity because of heat related faults. That will be its biggest concern this summer.

Does AEMO recommend more, or less renewable energy

I’ve barely seen this reported anywhere in mainstream media, but one of the core recommendations is to have more renewable energy, not less. AEMO’s analysis makes it clear that having either state-based renewable energy targets or, even better, a national target aiming for 45 per cent renewable energy, would reduce the level of unserved energy in all states in coming years, and eliminate it in some years.

And on the comparison with last year’s ESOO, it says: The risk of USE (unserved energy) from 2018–19 onwards has reduced, based on changed modelling assumptions on generation fleet, such as more renewable capacity and greater uptake of rooftop PV.

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One telling graph is AEMO’s forecast of USE in NSW if Liddell closes and another big coal generator shuts as well (green dot on top of the black lines above).
That could push the risk of load shedding well above the reliability standards (dotted line), but would be minimised, and visually eliminated, by a coherent renewable energy policy (blue triangle).

What other policies does AEMO recommend

Policies that encourages dispatchable energy that AEMO can switch on or off to deal with the big swings in demand and supply, and deal with those critical peaks when many of the big generators (coal and gas) may struggle in the heat.

There’s a bunch of things happening as a follow on from the Finkel Review – new connection rules, a “generator reliability obligation” that may require some wind and solar farms to contract “firming” or dispatchable sources such as batteries, pumped hydro or gas.

And then there are new market rules. There is talk of “capacity market” (favoured by only a few), a flexibility market, or a “day ahead” market, as employed in some places in the US and Europe. This latter appears to be favoured by AEMO boss Audrey Zibelman.

More importantly, there needs to be clarity in the overarching energy and climate policy. There is currently no policy to deliver the government’s commitment to the Pris climate accord, and no mechanism to deliver the even stricter targets that will inevitable and urgently require us to meet the stated intent of the Paris goal: to keep average global warming “well below” 2°C and possibly as low as 1.5°C, if there is still time.


Twice in the last few months, with the Finkel Review and the AEMO reports, Turnbull has been given the opportunity to run – or even walk slowly – with his big schtick of being the “innovation” prime minister.

But rather than using these reports to justify an embrace of the future, or even the present, Turnbull has chosen to leap into the past – apparently with the sole aim of appeasing the conservatives in his party. Goodness knows what’s driving them, although one suspects it is big dirty money from the coal lobby.

If these reports cannot change the views of this government, and prompt its shift to a cleaner, smarter, cheaper and more reliable grid, then what hope has the country of moving on from its increasingly costly, dirty, dumber and unreliable system that it has now?

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  1. Susan 3 years ago

    Thank you Giles. This is the commentary we have been waiting for. A pity the graph from AEMO is so difficult to interpret.

  2. Robert Westinghouse 3 years ago

    Brilliant Article….all we need to do it shove it up the LNP (where the sun does not shine)…I think that is their brains….It is so obvious even my Gran understands…The people at the RMI must be busting their sides laughing at the silly idiots down under.

    • Miles Harding 3 years ago

      The woud be, except for their silly idiots at home 🙂

  3. Grpfast 3 years ago

    This government has put us so far behind the rest of the developed world, what with its “cheap” and nasty NBN and now total ignorance of the future for renewables that we’ll be lucky to have a future. Come on China, buy us now!

    • RobertO 3 years ago

      NBN idea. If Telstra can send 2.5 Gigabytes / sec on a pair of fibres one in, one out, Bell Lab in USA in 2005 were experementing with 1000 frequecys of light down same pair, what can we sent on Optical Fibre if we had it today. I know that Telstra is using 8 frequencys of light, one card in an 8 card mux. The copper will need to be replaced in 5 to 25 years anyway.

  4. wayne 3 years ago

    Thanks Giles this makes sense and a great explanation. Much appreciated. So I can go sell that generator I purchased and the dozens of batteries in the garage. LOL? There is a parallel discission to Security of supply and that is PRICE. What concerns me the most even more than Blackouts is the Cost effect on the most needy in our community and those who cannot afford to install solar/batteries…A hell of a lot of Homes and people. .It is ok for those who might afford it but it is a double wammy for those who cannot. Bill shock seems to be incresing hugely with greater solar take up. I sit here looking at 4 unconnected 250watt pannels I am informed I cannot retrofit without losing money and should never have paid for so it seems the policy settings are so out of step with desired outcomes. Affordable, reliable energy supply that is environmentally friendly. What do we say to those pensioners and centrelingk public housing people who cannot get Solar/Batteries but get escalating enery bills. Some turn off heating /Cooling which helps but it is the fear of the bill in the letter box and it is real.

    • Chris Fraser 3 years ago

      The good news is 1 in 8 homes have installed solar putting downward pressure on energy prices. The most precious, rent seeking skeptics we have ever heard of now admit that behind the meter generation has returned much more value to the community than it cost.The better news is that since we could easily have solar on 1 in 2 homes, we have so much more rooftop capacity to add to the system. Every person benefits, whether they have a roof or not, whether they can yet afford it or not.The even better news is rooftop solar is rapidly becoming accessible to lower income households. In this way we’ll save a lot of hand wringing and finding the right words to say to pensioners as all the pensioners I know have agency and are very positive about choice.

      • wayne 3 years ago

        Hmmn. Rooftop putting downward pressure on prices? How come Enery price are escalating and electricity and Gas is becoming pretty expensive. I have heard authorities claim that we need to pay for the old poles and wires that were never designed for lots of distributed generators. My consumption has gone down but my bills up at a huge rate. I have a smart meter rooftop solar (2kw) all led lights and a rainbow power monitor so monitor consumption. In terms of disadvantaged where is the policy and incentive to allow them to share the savings? If all public housing had rooftop solar that might help. There should be no hand wringing or such as these are REAL issues to REAL people. Respectful fact based discussion like Giles is so important…..Rooftop solar is NOT getting that much more affordable for those struggling and there are so many Sharks out there it needs better regulating I believe. Would Governemnet be better served by installing Rooftop solar on all public housing? As an aside I unluckily wiped my entire solar savings, then some, on a faulty 5 YO Inverter that now has no guarante via the so called National reputabe installer and required re wiring to comply with latest standards for a replacement Inverter using new Transformerless technology. In fact that cost more than the initial investment. As such I am not sold on the practice even if the theory sounds great.

        • Chris Fraser 3 years ago

          We started on the issue of widespread access to rooftop solar …Perennial disadvantage to households over the cost of living I can easily get … though that’s a different question to the merits of new disruptive technology that reduces exacerbating influences on retail energy costs. If Governments cared enough about getting solar on roofs of disadvantaged homes (as they should) they would have very specific, clear, targeted programs outside of energy system. You wouldnt be surprised this Coalition government prefers market mechanisms, avoids interventions (except for Liddell), wants PV installation to stall – and doesn’t target disadvantaged homes.The cost we all pay to service the debt incurred by gold plating the grid is not inflated by behind the meter generation and consumption on site. Solar homes use less grid energy than they would without solar. The grid was heavily invested to increase its Regulated Asset Base value to ensure its purchasers (or renters) got a legislated, guaranteed profit through retail tariffs. Solar removes this obvious rorting. Of course we’ve been told to believe something else.Solar is becoming so accessible and popular there will be pressure upon landlords to concede to a solar installation where a benefit for both tenants and landlords can be proven. Naturally the home is a castle and a touchy subject. But assuming the landlord doesn’t have some wierd ideological objection, we say why not ?

          • Mike Westerman 3 years ago

            There really is only one answer to the over-investment in the network, and that is rapid electrification of transportation. Could only save Oz $35billion in imports.

            I’ve just put 6.5kW on my rental – 3y payback after which the savings will go to the tenants as long as they stay put. Win-win in the under-pressure rental market in Brisbane.

          • BushAxe 3 years ago

            Wish you were my landlord!

          • Mike Westerman 3 years ago

            Start nagging! I don’t want my tenants to move out – changing tenants every year is great for the agent, bad for me, especially with rents now falling in Brisbane.

  5. Joe 3 years ago

    Many thanks to you Giles. Could we get you onto the ABC 7.30 or The Drum or Lateline and get this out to the ordinary punters. They need to know and not be continually hood winked. Turnbull, Joyce, Frydenberg, Morrison etc are using energy policy ( their lack of one is now on show for all to see ) as their latest political distraction. When they are in trouble they go ‘Default Plan A” which is to whip up a confected safety or security issue. We see it with Asylum Seekers that have arrived by boat. We saw it with the infamous “Children Overboard” incident. We see it with the issue of Terrorism. All these are designed to make us feel very , very afraid for our personal safety and security. Now the latest is with energy and how we are being conditioned / made afraid of imminent blackouts. Who wants to be trapped in a lift with Barnaby Joyce busting for a pee pee when a blackout hits! The COALition are just loving all this at the moment. They want us to be scared and then pretend that they and only they can ‘save’ us.

    • Ian Mclaughlin 3 years ago

      Get him on the ABC sounds good, unfortunately the people that believe in coal generation no longer watch the ABC because it’s “too left wing” any facts that go against their beliefs must be untrue and left wing.

    • mick 3 years ago

      howard got re elected on the back of the tampa affair

      • Joe 3 years ago

        Ah, The Tampa, one of the most shameful episodes in recent Australian history.

  6. JIm 3 years ago

    Can anyone change minds in the Coalition before electoral defeat? The answer is increasingly unlikely to be Turnbull, perhaps backbenchers who have an ear to the ground? I sense things are so removed from the centre that a correction will come along – but if so, will there still be a Coalition?

  7. trackdaze 3 years ago

    “Experts say this is more than enough time to find alternatives. The only reason that it might not be replaced by other capacity is the policy paralysis”

    This is Precisely why the Luddite Naysayer Party (LNP) are proposing extending Liddell. To create uncertainty for new additions to generation.

  8. Henry WA 3 years ago

    Almost as worrying as the dishonesty of Turnbull, Frydenberg, Joyce and others has been the failure of Shorten and his Ministers and of course the mainstream media to put the case so well set out above by Giles.
    Audrey Zibelman has attempted to point out that the Government has misrepresented her report but it has scarcely been reported.

    • Miles Harding 3 years ago

      It really shows the complicity of the mainstream media in the decption. This may also explain why Bill Shorten has apparently been AWOL through this farce.

    • MaxG 3 years ago

      Exactly what happens if you would bring Giles on, they would not give him air time. As said elsewhere, one side does not listen to the other… we have a split across opinions; dialogue impossible.

  9. Jeremy C 3 years ago

    Yes, great summary but as we have seen this AEMO report is being ignored by the fanatics who are presently pulling Turnbull’s strings. They will either destroy renewables unless the transition is truly unstoppable, however history (and Abbott) shows that fanatics are very, very good at destroying things and will stop at nothing to get their way.

  10. David Hurburgh 3 years ago

    ” …. dirty, expensive grids ., ” ? What is Giles taliking about. ?

    And solar and wind are now portrayed as “flexible”. Is that double-speak for intermittency ?

  11. Simon Moore 3 years ago

    So how do we do demand management?? 2.5 million sydney siders get home between 1730 and 1800… and start dinner?? So do we ask people to not cool dinner?? Or rely on wind?? Not to mention the issues with a reference frequency and an effective load that can absorb the capacitance of the system without under voltage and under frequency protection tripping portions of the grid. I do get it lets use our resources effectively and still to this day the infrastructure required to manage supply is not there. A 100MW battery…. that’s like saying I have a 4 litre petrol tin for my gas turbine generator… and let’s look at that for a second… a 22.5 ME gas turbine at 22.5MW consumes close to 6000 litres of diesel an hour… that’s 100 litres a minute… and 1.6 litres per second…. so call it $2 a second… $120 a minute and $ 7200 an hour and that is just one generator.. Liddells nameplate (not the right terminology) is 2GW so 88 times bigger than a single dispatchable gas turbine which is cool but $633000 an hour of diesel just to meet the peak demand for 1 hour?? Pumped hydro… will take time and still depends on rainfall, and it’s all about bang for buck I would love to live in a green nirvana… but it doesn’t work unless we all get over it and live at the mercy of the wind and cloud and pay the price for it and either accept prices will rise or we do something and embrace reality.. I haven’t even started about asynchronous generation and the problems that SA had. Let’s be honest caseload isnt a myth… without it the grid would collapse into liytle islands as all the protection devices open… I like the discussion but let’s get real and worl for true efficient and ethical and pragmatic solutions…. not emotive an divisive flawed debate

    • Mike Westerman 3 years ago

      Simon there’s two broad schools of thought on managing anything: either centrally plan and control, or incentivise a change in behaviour. There are so many examples of providing appropriate price signals it’s not funny. There’s nothing strange about it. But for it to work across a grid it needs coherent policies and rules, and that is the criticism here – the LNP is missing in action. No doubt that as the amount and price of solar continues to fall, so behaviour will change. There is no justification for loads running 7×24 unless the economics are justified, and then those loads should pay for the service, not spread it onto those who don’t need it.

      Pumped hydro does not rely on rainfall – water is reused – that’s why it’s called pumped hydro, pumping and generating in an endless cycle, simply acting as a long life, large storage battery. Because of their low permitting and flexible siting characteristics, there are literally thousands of suitable sites. But an energy only market that doesn’t explicitly value security doesn’t provide a revenue stream for investors.

      Until there is ubiquitous control over most loads, load management will not be fast enough and accurate enough to run a low inertia grid, so it’s obvious a transitional strategy is needed. AEMO is attempting to manage this transition in the face of abject nonsense from the government.

    • BushAxe 3 years ago

      Demand management is aimed at big end users as there’s insufficient smart meters installed on residential to make a big difference at this stage.

    • RobertO 3 years ago

      Hi Simon On Pump Hydro
      NZ had some very bright pollies. They decided that Meri Meri (MM) Coal power in the late 80’s was too expensive so they order production to be shut down and be on 8 Hr standby (Water in the Biolers needs to be kept at 80 or 90 degrees so you are still burning lots of coal). Waikato River has lots of Francis Trubine on it that are pumped hydro stations that used excess MM to send H2O back up system at night. Enter the drought and about 6-12 months later power shortages as lake flows reduced. Pollies ordered MM back up to full production but it took about 6 months for rain fall to recover and power shortages to stop. About 2 years later the system was where it should have been fully recharged plus on standby MM used about 80% coal hence savings were negligible. I think 6 are pump hydro stations and have been used for many years. The only good point about this arrangement was that during the peak times MM power was need for load requirements. This station has now been shut down, but others have been bought online

      Pump Hydro need two storages top and bottom and uses the same water endlessly. The system requires some water to cover losses, rainfall or stream but when it on a river system the pump hydro adds to the total system unless the pollies take it out

      • Mike Shackleton 3 years ago

        The issue with Snowy Hydro 2.0 is the proposed pumped hydro will remove flows from the system – the Murray-Darling river and the Snowy river need to be carefully managed to ensure adequate environmental flows – NZ just gets so much more rainfall than the Snowy mountains.

        • RobertO 3 years ago

          Hi Mike, with pump hydro you reuse the same water, time and time again, less any losses such as evaporation or seepage. Evaporation losses can be reduced by covering lake with solar panels (China doing that), and seepage (fill the holes with some type of concrete). After the system is filled then water flows return to almost the same unless you have altered a pathway some how. In NZ the pollies made the decision to empty the lake and all the dams by closing MM power station and the river system need to make up the lost power (droughts are declared after 90 days without rain in NZ). I believe they were told of the risk but went ahead anyway. There was rainfall but not enough to cover the increase loads


          I left NZ because the pollies were stupid and I thought Aussies were better. What a let down, they are just the same, promise the world and take every thing you can get away with, steal, lie and cheat

          • Joe 3 years ago

            Which country is next for you ?

          • RobertO 3 years ago

            Hi Joe, any country with a lot less pollies will do. Australia is about 1 per 33,000, UK 1 per million.

    • Jo 3 years ago

      I like ‘caseload’

  12. DavidFilmart 3 years ago

    A funny aspect: discussing the AEMO report on Breakfast RN (I think), a chap from Grattan was still offering the “renewables” blame for South Australia’s blackout last year. That was what Frydenburg said on the night as soon as power came on, but has been fully debunked since. Why Grattan continue the furphy?
    BTW, the blackout in SA was not all that bad anyway.

    • Mike Westerman 3 years ago

      Yes curious isn’t it David: coal dominated Queensland had blackouts in Brisbane for almost 3 days but we don’t have harping ignorance blaming RE there.

      • Joe 3 years ago

        NSW is 85% Black Coal. We / NSW had a near thing blackout in the February heatwave….Coalers not working so well in the heat. On 18/8/2017 tens of thousands of NSW homes WERE a blackout due to strong winds damaging power transmission lines. Does that reason not sound familiar to everyone ( like the SA Megastorm knocking over Transmission Towers ). But not a peep from Two Tonguer Turnbull or his hand puppet Joshie F about the unreliable…. NSW Fossil Fuel !

  13. Brunel 3 years ago

    The latest polling says 56% of the electorate want government to buy back coal power stations.

    I guess the electorate does not know the difference between peaking power stations and base load power stations.

    High schools are pathetic. Year 10 science teaches how many electrons are in a particular atom – instead of much more important stuff like how electricity is produced and how preferential voting works.

  14. solarguy 3 years ago

    Well said Giles as always!

  15. Miles Harding 3 years ago

    Great effort, Giles.

    I particularly like Turnbull’s continued use of “dispatchable baseload”. It’s not like he hasn’t been told or shouldn’t know better, but it suits his agenda.
    For a time I would have been willing to accept that he was wedged by his own radical right rump, but the extent of the disinformation campaign suggests that “Malcom the Incredible” has become a true believer.

  16. RobertO 3 years ago

    hi all, to sum Giles up the COALition position is that “We must have Coal Power Stations at all costs and this is the only answer we have”. We have to keep our economy going with Coal exports (read as bags of green stuff being delivered to pollies of which 99.% is possible legal). We only have to at the most 2.2 years left in this argument at the most. Hopeful we will get more sence out of the replacement Fed Gov. I think even if they set 50% RE target we may over shoot both in time frame and volumn (we will be there sooner and with more than they (FG) thought possible). People are beginning to realise that solar on roof top is a money saver and the penny will drop (Why are we not using more RE in the network? It’s saving me money)

  17. Mike Westerman 3 years ago

    Some thoughts by those reviewing Irma and Harvey in the US…resilience comes from lots of little generators, not big vulnerable ones with vulnerable transmission…

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