Concerns over 5-minute rule as ESB warns of perils of wind and solar

Concerns over 5-minute rule as ESB warns of perils of wind and solar

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ESB briefing raises concerns about future of 5-minute rule, its description of wind and solar as a threat to the system, and the hiring of Frontier Economics to do its modeling.

AAP Image/Mick Tsikas
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solar panels.

Fears that the pace of Australia’s clean energy transition could be throttled by the proposed National Energy Guarantee have deepened, with concerns that the switch to the 5-minute rule could be further delayed and warnings by the Energy Security Board about the dangers of high levels of wind and solar.

The change in the settlement period on energy markets from 30 minutes to 5 minutes is considered crucial to encourage new technologies such as battery storage, and to limit the gaming of the market by fossil fuel generators, lower prices, and allow for a high penetration of renewables.

Its introduction was fiercely resisted by the incumbent coal and gas generators – and delayed until 2021 at the earliest be the Australian Energy Market Commission, the market rule maker – and there are now concerns it may be further delayed because of the proposed introduction of the NEG.

Observers have noted the contrast between the speed with which regulators moved on the 5-minute rule, which will take a minimum of six years from proposal to implementation, and that of the NEG, the broad outline of which was put together in a matter of days, and which regulators want to introduce to the markets in less than two years.

Both changes are considered fundamental, and concerns have been raised over why a change that would likely favour incumbents is being fast-tracked, while another rule change that would be to their disadvantage is being put in the slow lane because of the potential “disruption” to markets.

And fears the NEG is likely to be structured to favour incumbent technologies, such as coal and gas, have been reinforced by the contents of a briefing to stakeholders by the ESB on Friday, and separate comments by ESB chair Dr Kerry Schott.

In an interview with The Conversation’s Michelle Grattan, Schott lamented the lack of investment in coal, gas and pumped hydro in recent years and described the situation as “dire,” and likely to be made worse as more coal plants retire over the coming decade.

“You just cannot have an energy system that is reliant on huge amounts of wind and solar without backup that can come on when required,” Schott said.

“It comes down to physics. If you have got intermittent power – you must have power you can dispatch. You cannot have 100 per cent provided by intermittent renewables.

“We really must have sufficient reliable and dispatchable capacity to replace the coal fleet. If this (the NEG) is not the solution, I don’t know what is.”

Many would argue that the answer to having “reliable and dispatchable” capacity does not come from having new coal or gas plants – particularly if the country is serious about emissions reductions – and that while pumped hydro is expected to play a critical role, much of the existing capacity is rarely used.


ESB stuff

The ESB’s initial modeling indicates a share of renewable energy of between 28 and 36 per cent by 2030, which analysts such as Bloomberg New Energy Finance and others have pointed out represents little or no new capacity after 2020, when the share is expected to be around 27-28 per cent.

But material presented by the ESB to a briefing at AEMC’s Sydney offices on Friday reflects an even lower share than that unveiled by prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and energy minister Josh Frydenberg two weeks ago.

The bottom range of the proposed share of total renewables is lowered from 28 per cent to 27 per cent by 2030, while the anticipated share of wind and solar in 2030 is now put at just 18-20 per cent, rather than 18-24 per cent described in the original NEG modelling.

The continued use of modelling outcomes that represent a lower share of renewable generation in 2030 than will exist in 2020 is seen as a further sign that the new policy – of which there are few details beyond the broad concept of a “reliability” obligation and an “emissions” obligation – will be designed in a way that limits new wind and solar because, while it may not result in new coal and gas, it could serve to protect existing assets.

Questions have also been raised about the assumed price benefits, and by instructions from the Coalition – revealed in RenewEconomy last week and confirmed later in the week – that the ESB can only model a single low emissions reduction target for 2030, and no further reductions afterwards.

The one hope is that the mechanism can be designed in a way that can provide flexibility and allow targets to be ramped up in future – but analysts such as BNEF suggest it may not be scaleable.

Modelling to be completed before the next COAG energy council meeting on November 24 is to be conducted by Frontier Economics – a consultancy that, like the AEMC, has argued strongly against renewable energy targets in the past.

The result of the modeling will be crucial.

A result that suggests that the level of renewable energy will be virtually stopped in its tracks – as the ESB’s initial modelling suggests, and its latest presentation confirms – will almost certainly be rejected by the states, most of whom have their own ambitious targets, albeit subject to the results of state elections over the next year.

At the same time, any modeling that shows an increase in renewables – matching or even going beyond the 42 per cent suggested by the Finkel Review for its now discarded Clean Energy Target – will cause problems in the government’s conservative base, which wants renewable energy stopped in its tracks.

The states – angry about being initially excluded from the ESB plans, and now questioning its independence – have signaled that one bright light might be the ability to pursue their own targets.

The briefing on Friday suggested this would be the case. But again, the devil will be in the detail, and there is no indication of what level of “disaptachable” generation would be required.

NEG presentation

In contrast to Dr Schott’s rather bleak assessment of the role of wind and solar, and the ESB’s description of 18-20 per cent variable renewables “that can cause reliability concerns”, the CSIRO has suggested that any share of intermittent renewables of up to 30 per cent should be considered “trivial.”

“When we do modelling where we increase the renewable penetration above around 40 per cent of the energy delivered that starts to force out some of that existing dispatchable generation, and then we find that you need to add other technologies to support renewables,” CSIRO researcher Paul Graham told the Senate earlier this year.

The CSIRO assessment has been endorsed by the network operators, in a major joint study that urged the country to just get on with the transition to a decarbonised grid. Transgrid, which Dr Schott chaired until August, says that a 100 per cent renewable grid is both feasible and affordable.

The instruction by the Turnbull government to effectively ignore the long-term Paris climate goals – the ESB has been told to assume that once the modest 26 per cent reduction in emissions from the electricity sector is met by 2030, then no further reductions are to be assumed – is also alarming.

It is difficult to imagine how the ESB could possibly construct an effective policy on emissions reduction and ignore the need to reduce them over the long term and in greater quantity.

NEG ESB presentation

The ESB document circulated to stakeholders confirmed that the only modeling variables in their report will be demand, retirements, gas prices, coal prices, technology costs and “other key inputs”. But not emissions, or environment.

And the modelling will be done on a 30-minute settlement, not the 5-minute settlement that the market is supposedly preparing for.

Questions were raised at the Friday briefing about the impact of the new “obligations” on the 5-minute rule, and whether this would cause a further delay because of the major changes that would be brought to the market. Attendees say the response was not clear.

Frontier, like the AEMC, has also been a fierce critic of state-based policies. Its boss, Danny Price, earlier this year said that the proliferation of state-based targets could cause Australia to have a “third world” grid.

Frontier has been a favoured modeller for the AEMC, although a report released late last year relied on some absurd costings for large-scale renewables; and two years earlier, Frontier teamed up with the AEMC to argue for the reduction of the RET (they won).

Price helped design Direct Action, and an Energy Security Target for South Australia, but that was dumped because it was seen as an “industrial relic” that would favour gas over battery storage, and would cause electricity prices to rise, not fall.

But he also helped the design of a pricing mechanism that would allow the solar tower and molten salt storage plant to be built in Port Augusta and deliver power to the state government at around $75/MWh.

The presentation from the ESB also confirmed its goal was to reduce volatility on wholesale markets and increase bilateral contracts – “contracting is encouraged”, it says.

This, say most market and energy analysts, could simply reinforce the power of the incumbents retailers and make it extremely difficult for new players to enter the market, or for renewable energy projects to proceed without a contract from a big retailer, or a major corporate customer.

Overall, market analysts are unanimous in saying that the result of the policy would be to push prices up, rather than down, because there will be less renewables in the system.

Analysts such as Deutsche Bank have also begun to downgrade the outlook of major renewable energy companies and their portfolios of undeveloped wind and solar projects, saying there is little likelihood these could get developed under the policy.

Others have suggested that the policy could actually stop projects that have already progressed to financial close from going ahead, due to the uncertainty around the markets.

Roger Price of Windlab, which is looking to build a 1200MW hybrid wind, solar and battery storage facility in Queensland, said on Friday the industry was disappointed by the apparent choice of a “4th best” policy that may not even survive beyond the next election.

He also spoke of the advantages – both in economic and in engineering terms – of siting storage closer to demand, rather than with generation. You can hear our interview with Price in our Energy Insiders podcast here, and below.

(Note: RenewEconomy has sought an interview with Schott on several occasions, but our requests have been declined).


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  1. RobSa 3 years ago

    When Queensland has 100 per cent supply of renewable electricity it will be very awesome indeed. It will show leadership and be an inspiration to those following. We have the sun’s saturating rays to provide the power.

    One Nation is confected to prevent the Australian Greens from facilitating renewable energy development. Her previous role was to ensure Australia engaged in the phoney ‘War on Terorrism’ by causing racial divisions.

    Queensland should be the first state to enjoy the free energy from the sun. Then the rest of the country. Once road transport is electrified we can then travel all around the country without polluting and at low cost. How much will the economy boom under such a scenario. Mightily so!

    This is what conservatives want to deny the world. Real transformative change.

    • trackdaze 3 years ago

      First Qld should focus on getting to 30% renewables which can occur with no issues to the grid.

      I’ve listened to the 24minute podcast on the Conversation and at no point do either seem to mention battery storage.

      What the ESB suggests is “adopt a unreliable coal plant”

      • Ken Dyer 3 years ago

        Premier Palusczuk has been very clear with Adani. She will not fund
        it, and any environmental approvals are always on the proviso that the
        mine will actually go ahead. It is unlikely to. If she is re-elected with a majority she will drop Adani like a lump of hot coal. Abbott Point needs
        refinancing (2 billion), the rail line will rely on Federal Government
        handouts ($900,000) and the mine, well, a couple of local governments
        have been conned into paying out thirty million for a runway for FIFO
        workers who do not exist. Adani has a $5billion dollar stranded asset right now.

        It is instructive that Palasczuk has recently closed a tender for renewable energy that drew responses greater then
        the entire Queensland coal burning fleet totalling over 8000GW.

        The LNP is a different matter. They are being very coy despite the fact that Canavan is very bullish about Adani and a new coal fired power station. Good Grief! And the LNP wants to build one too.

        No mention of where the coal is to come from, what its quality would be, how far it will have to be hauled to the power station, and what transmission infrastructure is needed for the resultant electricity nor its emissions. Oh, and that’s right none of this has been costed, for capital outlay and operating costs and of course, which unlucky taxpayers will pay for it. Guess who?

        The Australian, bless its heart, has calculated that it will cost $2.2
        billion dollars to build a coal fired power station, conveniently
        forgetting the cost to dig the coal, clean the coal, transport the coal,
        etc. a cost that will only grow with inflation over the years. Now who
        is going to pay for that with their electricity bills? Guess who?

        • bedlambay 3 years ago

          Watch Bambino Coalavan and Barnaby come out swinging for Adani and new coal power in Qld.

          • Joe 3 years ago

            Yes, Matteo was on ABC Lateline MOnday night and is drooling at the chance to go full tilt for the new Coaler in North QLD.

        • Alastair Leith 3 years ago

          ” she is re-elected with a majority she will drop Adani like a lump of hot coal”
          You think?!

          • Ken Dyer 3 years ago

            It will be interesting to see. I wrote the premier and this is some of the reply.
            “The Queensland Government is meeting its election commitments not to subsidise the Carmichael coal mine or rail project with taxpayers’ money…….The previous Government was going to use taxpayers’ money to directly subsidise the rail line for the Adani Carmichael coal project and allow for dredge spoil to be disposed of offshore at sea in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area near Abbot Point.”
            Nothing has changed as far as I am aware, except the LNP is keeping its mouth shut. Perhaps the Stop Adani people instead of attacking her, should shift their focus to the LNP, which if elected will return Queensland to the bad pold days of Campbell Newman. Leopards do not change their spots, particularly if Italian dual citizens elected to Federal Parliament are corrupted by the coal industry.
            I might also add that all the Queensland Governments environmental approvals relate to the mine IF it goes ahead.
            I live in hope that it wont.

        • Joe 3 years ago

          A small correction if I may…that $900,000…should read $900 million for Adani’s rail line.

          • Ken Dyer 3 years ago

            Thanks Joe, that’s $900,000,000 plus change. Now while I am at it, Abbot Point’s debt is $1,600,000,000 and so on. It is very tiring typing all those noughts.
            Read this instead

          • Joe 3 years ago

            Thanks, I’ve read it…Adani = Dud and we / Australia are being Dudded. Is Premier Annastacia reading it ?

          • Ken Dyer 3 years ago

            I have now written to the Premier on 2 occasions. The responses lead me to think that the Stop Adani movement needs a better focus. I sent them some points as to why the Premier is still ‘supporting” Adani:

            1. The electoral prospects of the ALP in electorates adjoining the mine area. They are marginal seats and their loss indicates that Queensland could fall to the LNP at the election, which brings me to the next point.

            2. Tim Nicholls has already indicated that he supports a coal fired power station in Northern Queensland and, according to the Premiers letter, was (and still is) prepared to fund the Abbot Point railway line, a necessary part of the Adani project.

            3. The ALP has not directly funded Adani, and any decisions regarding water/environment/royalties will only come into effect should the mine proceed. if it doesn’t, there is no problem.

            From all this, as well as the DFAT FOI on Adani( Australia
            Institute), the biggest threat to Queensland as far
            as the Adani mine getting into the ground is concerned is not coming from the Queensland Government, but from the Federal Government and the Queensland LNP and One Nation(who also want to build a coal fired power station).

            I made the following point to Stop Adani :

            Are you focussing your efforts on the right people? So far, the media seems to have closely linked your protest efforts to every appearance of Premier Palasczuk.

            I believe that you need to hold the LNP and One Nation to task a lot more closely than appears to be the case.

            As it stands, many people are stitching the Adani mine right back to the Palasczuk Government, despite their demonstrated commitment to renewable energy in the form of recent energy auctions, and their stated commitment to not fund Adani. Unfortunately, it is all playing into the hands of the LNP and One Nation.

  2. Tom 3 years ago

    This is so depressingly bent.

    Where is the Labor Party on this? Are they on the take from Big Coal too? Or is useless Bill Shorten waiting for his focus groups to get back to him before he commits to an opinion?

    • maxlyrical 3 years ago

      Yes, big coal owns both parties.

    • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

      Big picture.

  3. Richard 3 years ago

    This article has put a slant on Schott’s comments and what the NEG means. Schott was asked by Michele if the NEG could be adapted to include increased renewable energy targets from specific state governments or a future Labor government. She answered in the affirmative as long as the increased renewable includes a certain amount of despatchable backup that will be determined by the operator, for each jurisdiction.

    There is nothing restrictive about this framework. It provides a mechanism that can be adapted to the inevitable changing political environments going forward, both state and fed.

    This policy is a really good one becasue it provides for guaranteed amount of depatchable power according to how much renewable is put into the system, so that the energy system remains reliable.

    It is a pretty poor show from sites like this that try to muddy the waters and spin arguments. It is no better than the Libs and the mineral council.

    • Jacob 3 years ago

      How can you accuse this site of muddying the waters when the ‘framework’ itself is all mud. There is no substance that can be debated. Do we know what ‘dispatachable’ even means? It’s fairly clear that the minds who crafted this policy see renewables as hobbled coal instead of looking at them as their own class of valuable generation.

      • Richard 3 years ago

        Renewables without backup cannot provide a stable power source, unless they are the molten salt type. That is all this policy is about ensuring there is the backup in the right amount, depending on circumstances.
        It is a very sensible policy because it allows the engineers running the grid to ensure that it stays running and that the existing business’s that provide most of the power atm can remain viable while the transition works its way through the system. And the storage conundrum is solved.

        • Mike Westerman 3 years ago

          Sorry Richard but that is incorrect. We have 7GW of reliable, dispatchable renewable power already up and running in Australia: hydro. If the current government was looking for less cynicism it could have jumped in after the SA blackout with a constructive solution for that state: off stream pumped hydro, of which half a dozen sites were already being investigated. Instead if opted to spread untruths and support Snowy 2 on the spur of the moment. All I see, as a professional engineer in this field for almost 40y is mendacious scheming and a minimum of vision.

          • Richard 3 years ago

            Economics will solve the problem. Politicians will do what politicians do, generally screw things up. At least in SA we have some poly’s having a go, except they screwed up the storage situation and rendered the gas plants uneconomic. But no one gets things right first go.
            South Australia is well on it’s way to 100% renewable now, if it isn’t cut off at the knees by a new government.

    • Giles 3 years ago

      So the only detail we have are the numbers supplied by the ESG. They show no growth in renewables. If they were imagining a different outcome, they should say so.
      There is a lot of concern from independent analysis that the policy will simply reinforce the power of the incumbents, push up prices, stop renewables and fail to address emissions.
      The states may well be “allowed” to have their own renewable energy targets, but until we have more detail as to how much, and how much back-up, then we won’t know whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing
      Mainstream media has fallen in behind and supported this without question. If you expect us to do the same then you are coming to the wrong site. But i rather suspect you have another agenda.

      • Giles 3 years ago

        Oh, and people should listen to the Schott podcast with Grattan and make up their own minds.

        • John Saint-Smith 3 years ago

          My impression was that Shott was so ‘concerned’ about the need to back up every watt of ‘unreliable, intermittent’ renewable power, that she seemed incapable of imagining any reliability coupled with substantial increase in renewables.

          It seemed as if she is unaware of the development of renewable based grids in dozens of other electricity markets around the world, and was assuming that present planning by Australian states excluded any consideration of firming technologies.

        • solarguy 3 years ago

          Morning Giles,
          I just listened to the podcast and it seemed clear to me that Schott wasn’t against or for renewables, but agnostic as to firming of renewables. Even though she didn’t mention storage as firming for RE, she didn’t say gas should be used or that more coal needed to be built either.

          All in all a pretty disappointing interview that failed to get to the crux of the biscuit. And of course the NEG isn’t a policy and the ESB has been set up as a political smoke screen in a sense, Schott could have, (if she has the knowledge?) explained to Grattan that storage is the firming for renewables, which as Richard and most of us know is the answer for variable solar and wind going forward, The main stream media have a responsability to get this message across to the general public, apart from RE economy. I believe that Audrey is on the board and I would love for her to start explaining this, but perhaps she may have the 9mm pointed at her head.

          The other side of the coin here is that Schott and Richard are correct saying there needs to be an orderly transition going forward, but there must be investment certainty for renewables.

          • Giles 3 years ago

            Yep, an orderly transition. But not a slow one. I think Gupta’s plans for Whyalla highlight this – he can get a 40% reduction in costs for solar and storage, just like household. So why does the ESB promise 50c a week, and no new renewables, no emissions targets. It is untenable. This mechanism should help accelerate the transition not slow it down. I’ll have more to say on it tomorrow.

          • solarguy 3 years ago

            Yes it’s untenable for sure! We could be 100% RE within 15yrs easy, if only the Coalalition just got out of the bloody way. Hope is with Labor and the Greens next election.

          • wideEyedPupil 3 years ago

            Exactly and the support being offered in the MSM reflects on the poverty of journalism in this country. Michelle Grattan, probably the most senior journalist with a history of covering national politics in the country actually called coal baseload generation when interviewing Kerry Schott the other day. Many others think “baseload” is synonymous with “lights don’t go out” (which requires load following and dispatchable generation to balance demand from generation/DSM) and never challenge Xenophon, Turnbull, Frydenberg, Joyce etc al when they repeat that deception, not just Grattan of course.

          • Richard 3 years ago

            You are right on the need for investment certainty for renewables. But it looks like atm the only chance for that is when there is a Labor government in charge, either state or federal. That may change, but I don’t see the Libs making very friendly noises anywhere and I wouldn’t hold out much hope of their position softening, it may get worse once they have jettisoned the super dud, Turnbull.

            So the next best thing is to get a framework like the NEG, which is their baby and modify it when Labor gets in. There is a political reality around all this that has to be navigated, it is not just about the best pure policy outcome for renewables.

          • Giles 3 years ago

            Yes, the old argument that something must be better than nothing. But not when that something prevents you from doing anything.
            This looks like an opportunistic and expedient grab for power by the incumbents. every independent assessment says this will simply reinforce market power of existing big players – and that is a very bad outcome for every one apart from the shareholders of those companies.

          • solarguy 3 years ago

            Richard, if we don’t get the best policy outcome for RE, then it will be a major failure, especially in regard to our warming planet. We can’t afford to be late to catch that train.

            All aboard!

          • Richard 3 years ago

            You don’t want to end up with no power supply either because the coal plants pulled the pin early because they were losing money.
            Shareholders in coal plants will kill the plants early if they are losing money. They won’t wait around just to be nice.
            This process needs to be carefully managed.
            NO 1 don’ t drive the backbone of your power supply out of business before there is enough replacement.

      • Richard 3 years ago

        No other agenda. I want a 100% renewable grid as soon as possible. As far as I can tell pure renewable power generation is cheaper than pure new fossil generation. It is that fact which will drive the market. But at the same time, a stable grid needs to be maintained. Otherwise, there will be continuing attacks on renewable and it will lose public support.
        That is the complex issue the regulators are dealing with.

        This policy allows the regulators to determine when where and how much firming capacity is required to maintain a stable grid, depending on all the local circumstances including government targets.

        It may well be that Labor states incentivize storage. Progressive governments can leverage the policy to increase renewables but have to also provide for a stable grid.

        If the policy supports incumbents isn’t that a good thing in the short term? If you just continue to incentivize building renewables with no regard for storage then you just drive the major generators to the wall and crash the grid. It’s madness.

        The major players are moving to renewables anyway because it is cheaper and better but there needs to be an orderly transition. Most of the coal plants will be too old in ten years anyway, is it a bad thing to maintain the viability of those businesses while they transition? ten years isn’t very long!

        • Michael Gunter 3 years ago

          I hope we are on the same page. When you say “renewables” I’m hoping that means “renewables plus storage”. If Blakers has gotten his sums right then his vision for wind/PVs/PHES/HVDC looks very promising to deal with the market trilemma. Whatever,,,,,, whether it’s fully charged lithium-ion batteries, insulated blocks of hot liquid salt, upper dams full of water in a PHES scheme, or even compressed air in an underground cavern — one will be a clear winner on price but the crucial thing to fix our climate emergency is that NONE of them should ever be charged up using fossil fuels. Absent renationalisation the only (very faint) hope I see is for an all-party consensus on what a zero-carbon grid of 2030 looks like, with a declaration of #ForceMajeure to be put in place to oversee the necessary infrastructure build to achieve that 2030 target, and no faking it with ’emissions trading’, ‘zero net’, ‘carbon neutral’ #WeaselWords #BS either.

          • Alastair Leith 3 years ago

            “one will be a clear winner on price ”
            Tends to be that the most popular becomes the cheapest not the other way around. PV will be cheaper than wind most places eventually. Deployment drives learning curves every single time with mass manufacturing widgets.

          • Richard 3 years ago

            Wind is still doing a good job at bringing costs down. Also, it has the major advantage of producing at night.
            The offshore wind sector has a lot of improvement left in it too with more consistent winds and floating turbines. It almost counts as base load in some areas, like Bass straight and Western Tassie.

            Between PV, wind and storage there is nothing the minerals council or coal junkies can do to save coal longer term

        • Alastair Leith 3 years ago

          Wouldn’t it be simpler to have a reserve capacity mechanism like in WA on the SWIS? Or some other way of paying for dispatchable capacity at the grid level not the retailer or generator level.

          • Richard 3 years ago

            I’m not across that but however it is done it needs to be cost effective. The methods will probably vary depending on locality because for a start we will have different state mandated targets and incentives across the whole sector. And federal targets and incentives that vary every few years.

            I pity the regulators trying to manage this situation. It’s is no wonder they have come up with the plan they have. As a base point they need a certain amount of despatchable power guaranteed in the system.

          • wideEyedPupil 3 years ago

            The regulators are answerable to a) gentailers and b) governments who make up their membership in case of AEMO and AEMC. There’s clearly a lack of policy consistency across these constituents and more than some incentive to allow the market gaming that has occurred and not been addressed like the 5 minute bid 30 minute settle discrepancy that AEMC has swept under the carpet for another few years. And like the fire sale buy-up of state owned old coal only to find out it’s a windfall profit maker and a reason to spend a few years on strike against signing PPAs with wind and solar developers. I don’t pity them so much as wish they were in on the gaming of markets as appears to be the case with the AEMC. It’s a good case of Dracula running the blood bank.

            If their base point is dispatchablility, then why are Chief Scientist Finkel (who essentially ignored the urgency climate science implies in commissioning his review modelling and his recommendations) and now the ESB obsessed with maintaining coal. DO these people truely not understand that coal is not dispatchable energy in any economically viable way (let alone if carbon abatement is part of the “trilemma”?

          • Richard 3 years ago

            The problem is people think there is some sort of conspiracy going on. There isn’t! Even the fossil generators would like to move to renewable energy as soon as economically possible. They don’t want to be left holding the can.
            You need to realize that to transform the system requires a huge amount of money. Everything has to change. The system of generation, the system of distribution, the system of retail and the system of management. And at this point in time, no one knows what any of those things are going to look like in ten years, because the technology is changing every year dramatically.
            Now imagine you are the regulators that have to manage this above system reality and report to government both state and federal who constantly change the parameters of the overarching policy every few months forever.

            It’s a melt down situation waiting to happen.

            The only option the regulators have been left with is to come up with a policy that guarantees system reliability. That is their role and they have done that perfectly, it is a retreat to home base. Because it doesn’t matter what any given government does at any given time, the system has to buy a certain amount of firm capacity, which is determined by the regulators with regard to specific circumstances in each State and Territory. It is a brilliant move.

            You need to move beyond partisan politics and the energy wars fueled by sites like this and the Mineral Council. The people running the system know what needs to be done and they are doing their best to manage it.

          • Giles 3 years ago

            I don’t know why you have a problem with people questioning assumptions. Your reference to fossil fuel companies is laughable, given they have funded most of the anti-climate nonsense for decades. When you speak of wanting to transform when economically feasible, you are talking about their business models, not costs to consumers. We can’t wait for them to decide what the business model of the future is.
            If the regulator knew what was needed, they would be telling the government on the public record, the need to reduce emissions. Instead, they have designed a system that takes no account of emissions or environmental impacts, and refuse to change it.
            I am always reminded of Hawaii. where the utility fought change tooth and nail, saying it would crash the grid and force up prices. The governor told them to shut up and get on with it – 100% renewables by 2045. The utility then said: Oh, OK, we can actually do it by 2040, and a lot cheaper than you think.
            they just need to be told.

          • Richard 3 years ago

            Yes, if they were told, that would be fine. But obviously, that is not going to happen in our current political climate. The only certainty is the goal posts will change every time a new government comes in.

            The regulators have to come up with a system to manage that and manage the grid across all the states. At least the Fed Libs have signed up to a target, even if it is pathetic.

            It is not true that the NEG doesn’t take account of emissions, it does.
            The Neg doesn’t set targets, it just adapts to whatever target is set by whatever government by ensuring there is enough firm capacity and the grid remains stable. Even Labor has figured that out.

            So it looks like we have a bipartisan policy at last, if the final details of the final policy check out. However, i have said somewhere before that
            Tony Abbott and the conservatives will try and kill it if they can, or castrate it as much as possible, but now that the policy has been proposed by the Libs, Labor can adapt it to a more renewable-friendly policy and use the cover that it was the Libs idea. And it is not as if the Labor states are going to change for a Lib policy, the NEG will have to adapt to their more aggressive targets. That is how it has been designed.

            Sure I don’t disagree that we need to see the details before arriving at a final conclusion. But this looks like a good framework to work with.
            The difference at the next election will be the renewable targets and how the policy will be modified by labour.

          • Richard 3 years ago

            In addition, sites like this don’t really illuminate things. They just create an on going state of war which results in a kind of war blindness.
            You have shells from one side and shells from the other and people are just bombarded into a state of numbness.

            If this renew economy site was really doing it’s job it would look a bit deeper, ask questions of the other side without prejudice. Seek to understand all the angles and explain them.

            But that is a difficult task.

      • neroden 3 years ago

        The states can do what they like, including leaving the NEM. The way the NEM was created was screwy and as far as I can tell there’s a good legal case that any state can simply walk out by passing legislation in its state parliament.

        As soon as South Australia gets enough batteries in place, it should leave the NEM immediately — it’ll make a point.

    • Michael Gunter 3 years ago

      “This policy is a really good one because it provides for guaranteed amount of depatchable power according to how much renewable is put into the system, so that the energy system remains reliable.” — but surely the whole urgent climate imperative is to guarantee that all new despatchable is ONLY EVER recharged by 100% renewable, zero-carbon generation, or have we yet again ring fenced for-profit commerce from the real world on which we — for the time being — live. Survivability of our fragile biosphere must take absolute precedence over our ephemeral desire for the power not to go off “before my ADSL modem sends this latest post” — oh your ADSL modem is battery-backed? Lucky you!

      • Richard 3 years ago

        First and foremost the people supplying the bulk of our power atm need to have a profitable business or there will be no economy to create emissions.
        Secondly, the power supply is going to rapidly become renewable anyway as the old coal fired power stations reach the end of their life and companies running those facilities replace them with renewable plus storage solutions, two thirds of the coal fleet will close by 2030. That is a given.
        In the mean time we need to manage the transition carefully, that is a difficult thing to do. Just blindly incentivizing renewable power, without backup and destroying the business model of the backbone of the system, is total insanity.

        • Michael Gunter 3 years ago

          so renewables roll out can happen very fast as long as the storage options are banned from accepting fossil-fuelled power, and each storage facility is required to sign exclusive PPAs with solar or wind generators only. The world’s carbon budget is exhausted, there is no time to worry about something as trivial as a few trillion $$$ worth of stranded obsolete generation assets. The #SteamAge is over, save for CST+molten_salt heat banks perhaps.

        • Alastair Leith 3 years ago

          Have you seen the coal plant lifespans for all Australian coal plants in the Finkel Review, many of them well past 2030? Finkel was suggesting new ones to have coal generating out to 2070, not sure what kind of scientist the Chief Scientist is (medical products being his enterprise) but he sure doesn’t get the urgency of climate change, or was prepare to produce stupid targets to try and hoodwink LNC deniers into signing onto something miserable to make Malcolm look like he’s getting on with something, which is against LNC rules I suspect, they excell in status quoism.

          • Richard 3 years ago

            Finkel is heading in the right direction he just couldn’t see how quickly the cost of renewable and storage is coming down. Or, perhaps he could, but was trying to soften the blow for his political masters(more likely).
            Any projections about coal beyond 2030 is fairies at the bottom of the garden stuff. The renewable storage equation will have long since destroyed the coal generation business model. I think coal power station owners have realized that in the last few years. But it will take awhile to penetrate the thick skulls in the Liberal party(and some in Labor) especially while it suits their political interests to keep their heads in the sand.
            The NEG is at least a way that the regulators can get around these morons to some extent and attempt to limit the damage they are doing.

    • Alastair Leith 3 years ago

      If it’s “depatchable power” you want why are they insisting it be non-dispatchable coal?

      • Richard 3 years ago

        That is a good point. They have deliberately changed the definition for political reasons and they should be called on it. Typical political crap from the Libs, but that is to be expected.
        Whatever they call it won’t help coal survive the economic realities coming down the line. But we need it to survive long enough for an orderly transition

        • RobertO 3 years ago

          Hi Richard, Finkle said 3 years notice for power station and the COALition can not wait (AGL was 3 years and 3 months when asked about replacement). I do agree that we need a policy with a plan attached, to give certainity to the change coming. The NEG has no details on either part, (and if this is a “Just Protect Coal at all Costs”” then we’re stuffed.

          • Richard 3 years ago

            What the NEG does is provide a way for the regulators to maintain a stable power supply while we are in the midst of a political energy war.

            It simply offers a mechanism that says if you are buying a certain amount of very cheap renewable power at a certain time then you also have to buy a certain amount of dispatchable power too. It’s genius.

            Now we can argue around the details, like we have been passionately for awhile . But at the moment the architecture is brilliant.

            This policy may not survive to be the answer because it still has to survive a massive political shit storm from both sides. And I will blame sites like this for being so paranoid and hysterical, much like the anti renewable crew/ pro coal lobby, if it goes down.

          • solarguy 3 years ago

            Richard, the architecture isn’t really brilliant at all, as I can see at this point in time. It is however a good stalling tactic. There is no frame work that can be confirmed, no plan, it’s just a plan to have a plan. No one from the ESB has come out and said anything of any substance yet, in reference to RE and storage.

            The MCA and the coal industry is in a flap about RE and they haven’t got the brains to invest away from FF, instead thinking of squeezing as much out of business as usual as they can.

            That’s why their lobby groups are doing their massive attacks through the media.

            Sure there needs to be an orderly transition from coal plant to PV, wind and storage, but a plan hasn’t come to light yet to set the ball rolling and one needs to be set down really quick.

            Time is not on our side!

          • Richard 3 years ago

            It is light on detail and it may well be a stalling tactic from the Libs. But the idea is born out of the regulators.
            Let’s call it a key principal rather than a policy at this stage. But that principal is now bipartisan.
            It means that renewable energy builders also have to think and act on firm capacity and so do the retailers. Great outcome.

          • solarguy 3 years ago

            I think the idea was born from the big three gentailers and the MCA. The principal is bipartisan to who exactly, certainly not the Greens or Labor and couldn’t there be, as there is no meat on the bone of this skeleton.

            I and others need to see more detail, but that’s unlikely in the short to medium term.

          • Richard 3 years ago

            The Greens wouldn’t agree to anything that doesn’t close down the gird and destroy the entire economy. That way they can get our emissions to zero really quickly.

            As for Labor, beyond the usual political posturing, they seem to like the bones of the idea.
            The inside running was they would let the Libs do the heavy lifting, selling the policy and then modify it at the next election.

          • solarguy 3 years ago

            In a word “nonsense”. Didn’t you read Mark Butler’s letter and veiws about the matter on this forum the other day?

          • Richard 3 years ago

            Now you shouldn’t be so gullible. Never take a politician’s word at face value. Only judge them on what they actually do or don’t do.

            The bones of this policy will be the framework going forward. What the details around it are remain to be seen and are very much dependent on who is in charge.- That is another characteristic of the policy/idea.

            But the essential characteristic of ensuring a certain amount of dispatchable generation for a certain amount of renewable, cannot be argued with- and that is essentially the bones of the idea.

          • Giles 3 years ago

            It certainly can be argued with. The CSIRO and the networks argued that anything up to 30% “variable” renewables should be treated as trivial, and even then little back-up required – probably not more than the back-up that already exists for the fossil fuels. so why require renewables to pay for the back up put in place for failing coal plants. the coal generators don’t have to pay for it, and on the NEG modelling numbers no more back-up is needed.

          • solarguy 3 years ago

            I agree Sir Giles, but as more RE comes on above 30% then storage really needs to be there to some capacity. If things go to plan RE could ramp up fairly quickly and that does need to be planned for, luckily that can be done without to much fuss.

          • Richard 3 years ago

            Because a lot more backup is required if you are going to go to high levels of renewable penetration and it needs to be affordable. Someone has to build and pay for that and make a profit off it. Who would that be, please tell?

          • solarguy 3 years ago

            I’m certainly not gullible Richard, but I’m starting to think you might be. You think this idea has merit, it may have if it’s going to secure more RE in the generation mix and increasingly so going forward. But there isn’t any indication that will be the case. There is however some indication, that there is a preference for fossil fuels to supply the firming, a ludicrous ideal that gives more power to the big 3 incumbents to further financially rape the public, by squeezing every last dollar out of clapped out assets or worse still building new fossil fired plant

            Until I hear the ESB state the aim of their idea is to bring an orderly and as quick as possible transition to storage for firming, in what ever form the engineers want to use, reducing fossil fuels, by using RE. Then and only then will I believe it has any merit.

          • Richard 3 years ago

            The problem is you are blinded by ideology you can’t see the wood for the trees.
            Try and imagine you are running the grid and negotiating different policy
            regarding its transformation to RE. The number one priority is to keep the power on and the cost reasonable both to the consumer and the tax payer, remember we have an economy to manage too, and government debt we are trying to bring under control.
            In your world renewable would be subsidized indefinitely without consideration for backup until it reaches 40% of supply. And then your phone rings and it’s the coal power association- Sorry we were losing money we had to shut down.
            You are going to look like a bit of a dill!
            Think a bit harder.

          • solarguy 3 years ago

            Really Richard, blinded by ideology, one would have to ask if your blinded by your inability to comprehend what is going on. And don’t let some facts and common sense get in the way of the big picture.

            On transforming to an RE grid, of course the priority is to keep the power on and that’s why AGL has a plan to have Solar, Wind and batteries in place, before they shut down Liddell in 5yrs. Now that’s a common sense example of an orderly transition and shows disinvestment in FF. They get my tick of approval for that thinking. They get it, do you? No one will be getting a phone call from AGL, stating their broke, in that scenario. AGL and others know however, that until there is a frame work put in place that prioritizes investment in RE, an orderly transition is going to be very hard to achieve. The government are paid puppets of the coal industry and are trying to slow this RE investment down, by asking, AGL to keep the old clunker running an extra 5yrs, that isn’t going to keep the lights on, that’s just going to increase power prices further. The tax payer and consumers will pay for that and you talk of subsidies for RE……ummm.

            There is $billions of investment money, but not for coal. In the FF industry, the only ones to go broke, will be those morons who fail to use their considerable wealth to invest in RE and storage, the banks will be behind them if they do, because it’s cheaper.

            I never said storage isn’t needed beyond 30%, indeed it will be needed. I design grid connect, hybrid and off grid systems for a living, so I know what back up is needed in different scenarios.

            And here is a fact that has obviously eluded you, I have designed and installed a hybrid system that powers all of my household loads, including the air conditioners. It has been designed to go off grid at a moments notice if needed, has up to 5 days autonomy without any grid power. Most days I export enough power to not only cover the daily SAC charge, but profit to the tune of and in excess of $200/quarter. This morning it is light overcast, but at the moment I’m pumping 3.4KW into the grid.

            Now who is the dill, Richard. I suggest you think harder, a lot f……king harder. and remember assumptions are the mother of all F…k ups!

            And the reNEG is a f…k up waiting to happen, if morons keep control.

          • Richard 3 years ago

            You still don’t get it.
            Anyone who owns a coal fired power station is going to do exactly what AGL is doing and possibly sooner rather than later, irrespective of what the policies are or who is in charge. 2/3rd’s of the coal plants will close because they are simply uneconomic, under any scenario, within the next 15 years. And it is very likely they will all be shut in that time frame because the economics won’t be there, under any scenario, given the cost reductions and scaling up of renewable and storage.
            Everybody knows this. What the Liberals carry on about or fuss about policy is totally immaterial, it’s just political words and brand differentiation. They know as well as anyone that Liddel is going to close.

            The renewable industry has reached a point where it can stand on it’s own two feet, it’s doesn’t need massive subsidies to be competitive anymore especially when we consider beyond 2020. And there are very good reasons why it shouldn’t be subsidised beyond 2020. Firstly it adds to power bills, secondly the government can’t afford it anymore and thirdly it makes industry lazy and leads to bad projects being built that will add to power bills down the track.

            What industry needs now is a guiding policy just like the NEG that mandates a certain amount of firming capacity depending on circumstances. That way they can get on with the job of building out renewables with the right amount of firming capacity to keep the system stable. leave it up to competitive markets without subsidies.

            Too much government regulation and wild policy swings between governments will in the end slow down renewable development and make the system more unstable. This policy should enable the regulators to be able to keep a grip on the steering wheel. And policy always favors the incumbents in nearly every circumstance. If it deosn’t, the tax payer is up for large bills in compensation. And profitable incumbents will drive the change faster than unprofitable ones.

          • solarguy 3 years ago

            Jesus f..ken Christ, what you don’t get is that the ESB’s NEGITIVE, isn’t a way forward for RE, in fact it’s against RE for firming capacity and it want’s to stop any further RE development. They also want to stop roof top solar going forward. It is stating that loud and bloody clear, because the government believe only fossil fuels can perform the task.

            Don’t you get that, or are your powers of comprehension stopping you from understanding that, when you read it.

          • Richard 3 years ago

            You are making some silly statements. Unless it’s a solar thermal plant, renewable can’t provide firming capacity unless it’s hooked to a battery/pumped hydro, etc. How can they stop rooftop solar? With electricity prices the way they are, rooftop solar and battery is going to continue at pace. No government is going to curtail that, becasue they would be immediately removed from office.

          • solarguy 3 years ago

            Well of course it would need to be hooked up to storage to provide firming capacity from a RE source. What you fail to admit is that this government is hell bent on using fossil fuels to provide that capacity.

            There really is something wrong with your mentality. You argue that some one agrees with you on a point. Your twisted, so therefore I will ignore you.

          • Richard 3 years ago

            They are not hell bent on fossil fuels. What matters is a stable affordable system during the transition. That is all this is about.

  4. Chris Drongers 3 years ago

    The point that it will take 4-6 years to run out 30 minute bidding intervals and associated hedges and contracts but the reorganisation of the NEM around reliability can be accomplished in less time is well made. Keep pushing for an explanation of why a smaller change will take longer than the big one.

  5. Nick Thiwerspoon 3 years ago

    The ESB is clearly a wholly-owned subsidiary of coal.

    • bedlambay 3 years ago

      No better than the heavily compromised ROC and Senator Cash and her office.

  6. Solar Sparky 3 years ago

    Can’t have 100% from “intermittent” renewables …… ahem ….. cough ….. splutter ….. concentrating solar thermal with molten salt storage good for days depending on tank size and good old fashioned steam turbine alternators that the power companies already know about, just a different heat source – multiple sites worldwide? Wave power either for electricity or direct use for reverse osmosis filtration to create fresh water ala Carnegie’s CETO projects? Wave’s haven’t stopped in a very long time.
    Dare I say it? Pumped hydro storage – Snowy 2.0 if you’re really desperate for a big infrastructure project – not optimal but doable I guess. And that’s just the big boy’s toys let alone what can be done at the individual domestic level.

    • Michael Gunter 3 years ago

      …not forgetting that #PHES *can* potentially be chaste and clean if it makes a legally binding public guarantee to have quarterly independent open-book audits to confirm that it never sneaks away in the dead of night to consort with that smutty harlot cheap coal power. So if the Finkel vision is to reach its full potential then contracted, guaranteed PPAs between solar/wind and off-river pumped hydro should be mandated by the emissions reductions details yet to be fleshed out in any NEG — a NEG that sorely needs to establish credibility re Australia’s weak existing Paris commitments on climate ASAP.

      None of Cultana, Kidston or Snowy 2.0 projects have made any such promises, in fact their business models seem to rely mostly on arbitrage: making a dirty buck in the dead of night buying cheap coal power when nobody’s looking, and dressing it up the next afternoon as clean Greenwashed hydro power. This would be a lot more spin that what’s going on in the Francis tubine blades themselves! Also an utterly perverse outcome for the true carbon intensity of every GWh coursing through the NEM’s arteries. 🙁

      The worst possible case from a climate perspective would be (i) complete STEM-illiteracy in govt policy advisers who don’t know a GW from a GWh; (ii) total absence of a bipartisan evidence-based climate/energy policy; (iii) no clea concrete vision of the affordable/reliable infrastructure mix that will make up our future zero carbon grid; (iv) a dysfunctional, fragmented energy-only market, with increasing fragmentation as new band-aid “ancillary services” are invented by profit-driven newcomers to the market; and (v) savvy CON-sultants secretly working for oligarchs wanting more chaos so they can keep milking the failing system for whatever short-term corrupt windfall profits they can screw us for. #DivideAndConquer

      Oh wait,— I think we have already been living this nightmare for a few years now. DAMN!

  7. Tom 3 years ago

    I’ve got a question about the proposed NEG:

    If retailers are forced to buy a certain % of “dispatchable” energy, do they have to buy this minimum percentage every hour? Or averaged over a day? Or averaged over a year?

    If they have to buy their minimum percentage every day then it wouldn’t be “dispatchable” – it would be “baseload” that they’re buying. Dispatchable power can turn off when the demand is 100% supplied by wind and solar, and turn back on again when it isn’t.

    • Mike Westerman 3 years ago

      Tom it sounds like you’re asking questions implying there is such a thing as an NEG Policy! Which we all know is not the case – there is a brainfart with no numbers, despite the stink previously made by the LNP in regard to the NBN not having numbers to back it! Of course, all this was the most incompetent government in our recent history…

      • Richard 3 years ago

        Now, lets not be cynical! The call for numbers is a bit disingenuous.

        Back it up a bit and realize where the NEG came from. It came from the combined efforts of our electrical energy system regulators. Finally( because they had no other choice) the federal government came to them and said- you fix it!!

        The government only gave them a few weeks! But these guys have been dealing with the policy mess for so long, they already had a some idea of what to do. They are the smartest people in the room when it comes to energy in this country. And launching off the back of the Finkel review, which really put the ball on the tee. They drove it high and long and landed it right on the green.

        Basically, if we adopt the NEG framework we can have any amount of renewable generation as long as it is accompanied by a certain amount of dispatchable generation, to maintain grid stability.

        What is almost enough to bring you to tears is that this idea is so logical and practical. Why didn’t we think of it before!!!!

        • Mike Westerman 3 years ago

          Not at all: AEMO have been exploring the level of inertia required to manage various levels of RoCoF for quite some time, even as the Finkel review was underway. Adoption of a CET would incorporate the emissions reduction requirements supposedly in the NEG, so a real policy would have set a target for the CET and asked AEMO to hurry up with their inertia standard and pricing mechanism. But that wouldn’t have been “political” enough, it would have been far to grounded in engineering and evidence. So instead once again we have certainty kicked down the road and the status quo preserved.

          • Richard 3 years ago

            But there is no political certainty to work with! Even on one side of politics, they are in a war to the death over energy policy.

            The NEG has been born out of this reality. That is what makes it so powerful.

            Your comment doesn’t face the reality of the situation.

          • Mike Westerman 3 years ago

            The realty is Labor was ready to do a deal on the CET and listen to evidence based policy from AEMO. The NEG is a bit of spin around those concepts without the concrete details those actual policies embodied. It’s just noise to keep a lost and incompetent government skidding down the road for a bit longer. And the reality of that is less investment in the face of continuing uncertainty.

          • Richard 3 years ago

            I disagree. The NEG does have some spin on it, everything does in this space , like it is not a price on carbon, it does creat a pricing mechanism for carbon. But it is an idea put together by the three main regulators of the system
            It is a very sensible idea to include firming capacity or dispatchable power with renewable. It is the only logical way to transition the power system.

          • Mike Westerman 3 years ago

            You are ignoring that Finkel already had both those ideas in the CET and proposed Energy Security Board. NEG added nothing but delay and obfuscation.

  8. bedlambay 3 years ago

    Crony capitalism and mate’s favours wrirt large.

  9. Chris Fraser 3 years ago

    How can wind and solar be considered intermittent ? These can both be forecast days ahead.Ok then it’s agreed by CSIRO that wind and solar can squeeze out other “dispatchables” at 40% penetration. That means some polluting coal plant (that takes days to warm up) finds it more economical to let itself go cold ? What’s not to like about this – especially with our Paris requirement in mind ?Perhaps the injection of wind and solar comes with a qualifier that it has to be supported by ‘some other technology’ … I don’t suppose they have worked out what that technology is, then.They still have this ideological constipation towards batteries, perhaps believing a battery’s capacity would never be enough to cover demand until some new wind and solar feedstock is found. Clearly they would not have thought of spatially distributed wind and solar – lots of it.They still have this ideological obsession with spinning generators as inertia. They appear to have completely discounted stabilising advantages of asynchronous generation. When delivered from batteries, this can even cover the tracks of some spinning generator’s wobbly performance. They must be well and truly stuck on old technologies. Could this be their Luddite moment ?

    • Michael Gunter 3 years ago

      “What’s not to like about this” — mostly the tonnes of coal, the thermal inefficency and the dollar cost of bringing a huge cold boiler up to full stream pressure, synchronising its steam turbines to 50.0 Hz and throwing some huge contactors. So the true CO2 emission cost of too-frequent cold-hot-cold cycling would escalate the total tonnage of coal burned per MWh of exported energy. Assuming the operator was honest enough to include the tonnes of coal burned from a cold start.

    • technerdx6000 3 years ago

      I really dislike their ideological stance on spinning inertia. The only reason spinning inertia is a thing is because of the shortcomings of spinning generation. Batteries are better in every single way, including being able to react to frequency changes on tiny time scales

    • Joe 3 years ago

      Never quite understood why people swallow this ‘intermittent’ label / description business. It is just The COALition, Rupert’s newsrags and the radio idiot jocks playing the ‘demonise RE at every opportunity’ game. In a truly National Energy Market the sun will be shining and the wind will be blowing somewhere and it will be harnessed. And why is the argument always limited to just sun and wind. Biogas is available at every sewage treatment works which just happen to be present in every urban centre in the country. We also have Geo Thermal and Wave / Tidal which hasn’t been pushed nearly hard enough. 100% RE is there for the taking…nothing ‘intermittent’ about it whatsoever.

      • solarguy 3 years ago

        Agree, biogas is being completely overlooked.

        • Joe 3 years ago

          Thank you Solarguy

  10. PacoBella 3 years ago

    The LNP set up multiple regulatory bodies and stack them with people they know they can rely upon to appear to be acting “independently”, while at every point they bend or break the rules, ignore professional advice, introduce new rules to frustrate the clear wishes of the market to get on with cheap renewable energy and firming technology to make it reliable and dispatchable. They move the goalposts and tilt the playing field to favour fossil fuel donors and the vertically integrated electricity oligopolies that currently are able to rort the system to their profitable advantage.

    Given the above and reading the frustration and anxiety expressed by the correspondents below, there appear to be two ways open to members of the public:
    1. get rid of the LNP government at the next election, in the meanwhile
    2. investigate the most feasible way you can generate and store your own power (behind the meter) either off-grid or hybrid solar and battery combo.

    We have gone off-grid in our new house (option 2) and it brings an enormous sense of relief to be somewhat insulated from the corruption and stupidity while still disappointed for the lost opportunities on the national scene and counting the days until we can vote to help bring about option 1.

    • Barri Mundee 3 years ago

      If you hate Australia vote Coalition!

    • Tom 3 years ago

      Disclosure of conflict of interest – I’m going to vote Green.

      That done – where does Labor stand on all this? They’ve bleated a few words but been absolutely silent on policy.

      Labor’s also on the take just as much as LNP.

      • Steve_Ohr 3 years ago

        False equivalency.

    • Mike Shackleton 3 years ago

      The Liberal Party has always been the party of “small government,” but in this case the electricity market has multiple acronyms tied to it – AEMO, AEMC, ESB, all with Liberal party mates embedded within the organisations. The AEMO seems to want to get on the right track with Audrey Zibelman at the helm, but the AEMC and now the ESB just seem to want to protect the status quo.

      How long will it take before Audrey resigns out of frustration? Or starts publicly documenting her frank analysis of the situation at hand, only to make herself the target of government attacks?

  11. neroden 3 years ago

    Thieves are gonna steal. ESB are thieves. So they’re gonna steal.

    There are three appropriate responses to this:
    (1) Federal: Throw the Lib/Nats out of office and expel the members of the ESB.
    (2) State: Leave the National Electricity Market. No point in being in it.
    (3) Local: Go off the grid. Batteries and solar.

    • Carl Raymond S 3 years ago

      Up vote, not because I think 1,2,3 are the answer, but because the threat of 1,2,3 might result in the abandonment of coal protection.

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