The Greens' Cloud Cuckoo Land

Peter Smith19 Oct, 2022 4 Min Read
That last step is a doozy.

And so into their fantasy world they go. Demolishing reliable coal-power stations and subsidizing intermittent sources of power. Bad enough that Western governments have swallowed the line that climate Armageddon is on the horizon. Worse, much worse, is what they’re doing about it. They seem unable to distinguish between dreams and reality. Two recent developments in Australia add to the overwhelming evidence that Western governments are living their deluisions. Of course, there are many more than two such developments. I’ve just picked two of them at random. The first concerns the Liddell coal power station in the Hunter region in the state of New South Wales (NSW).

Liddell is being closed down prematurely in April next year. Incidentally, Eraring, the largest power station in Australia (at 2.3GW), also in NSW, will close prematurely in 2025. The Australian Energy Market Operator expects more early closures. On cue, it’s been announced that the closure of Loy Yang, supplying 30 percent of the state of Victoria’s power, will be brought forward ten years to 2035. No odds are being offered on bets it will close earlier than that. It’s all part of the continuing shutdown of coal power stations in Australia. Meanwhile, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, et al, are still building them, and using heaps of Australian coal to power them. What to do? Weep.

Back to Liddell. It is to be replaced—for no good reason—by intermittent wind and solar. Intermittency; there’s the rub. Firming required. And, for the continuing avoidance of any doubt, to the extent of 100 percent. Envisaged to fill part of the gap is Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro. It’s way behind schedule, way above budget, and not nearly as effective as claimed.

Liddell on the chopping block: icky old energy.

Then, risibly, there are batteries. To illustrate, it’s claimed that the largest battery in Australia, the 450MWh Big Battery in Victoria, can power over one million dwellings for half an hour. There are 2.5 million dwellings in Victoria and, of course, commerce and industry besides. Powering the whole state would leave the Big Battery flat after about 5 minutes. And then, from somewhere, it has to be charged up again. Enough said. Finally, there is the effective, if partial, firming coming via a new 600MWh gas-powered plant to be built by Snowy Hydro Limited, near and named after the small town of Kurri Kurri in the Hunter region of NSW. Sense and realism at last you might think. Think again.

Initially, the Labor Party was against Kurri Kurri. Fossil fuel and all that. But now in government, with responsibility to keep the lights on, it’s come around. But not without the dreaming in tow. It insists that the gas plant must run on 30 percent green hydrogen from the outset, scheduled for December 2023, and on 100 percent by 2030 or sooner. Enter Paul Broad, the (now ex-) CEO of Snowy Hydro Limited. Let him tell it: "While hydrogen is a wonderful opportunity, it is many, many years away from being commercial."

Not what the Government wanted to hear. Green dream interrupted. Broad resigned in August. Wanted: new CEO willing to suspend reality, live in dreamland, and conjure up commercial quantities of green hydrogen.

The second development comes out of the state of Queensland. The Labor Party is the governing party in Queensland. It runs a green-obsessed government. No surprise there. Governments of all six Australian states and its two territories and the nation itself are green-obsessed; including those (in NSW and Tasmania) run by the pretend-center-right Liberal Party. In fact, there’s no difference to speak of. We don’t have the grand variety that Ron DeSantis and some of his fellow Republican governors (and Republican legislators) bring to the United States. And they say size doesn’t matter.

The Premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk (locally pronounced as Pala-shay), announced her green dream under the heading of the “world’s biggest pumped hydro for Queensland,” on September 28. Some of its elements:

  • Eight times new renewables capacity, supplying 70 percent of Queensland’s energy by 2032 and 80 percent by 2035.
  • Two new pumped hydro stations, one leveraging off a new dam (good luck getting that past the greenies) by 2035
  • Coal power completely out by 2035
  • Coal-power stations to convert to run on clean energy; e.g., green hydrogen
  • Building a green-hydrogen-ready gas turbine
  • Building a new ‘super grid’ connecting solar, wind, battery and hydrogen generators across the state.

On the drawing board: clean green power!

Apropos coal. Snapshot, October 7, 6.15pm, coal power is supplying 78 percent of Queensland’s electricity; 5,588MW out of 7,201MW (natural gas 14 percent, hydro 4 percent, wind and solar 2.6 percent). In case she’s missed it, someone might remind the Premier that 2035 is only thirteen short years away. Rome wasn’t built in thirteen years. And neither are new dams, pumped hydro stations, green hydrogen plants, many square miles of wind and solar farms, and the accompanying transmission infrastructure. But she won’t listen. Her reality is in her head and her head is in the clouds:

This plan is about cheaper, cleaner and secure energy for Queenslanders…It is about turbo-charging new investment in new minerals, batteries and manufacturing…Renewable energy is the cheapest form of energy…This plan makes Queensland the renewable energy capital of the world.

Queensland is only the third largest Australian state. Population 5.3 million. Yet, destined to become the renewable energy capital of the world? If you say so Ms. Palaszczuk. Clearly her (world domination) plan is delusional. Something the climate activists in the bureaucracy thought up. It’s a reverie with no practical possibility of being realized; at least the building part. It’s quick and easy to blow things up; like, say, coal power stations. And what then, I wonder?

Time to panic. Leap for the lifeboats. But where to head?  Maybe you speak Chinese. No green dreams there; just the realistic ambition of world domination, this one backed up by a two-million-man army and gunboats. Nothing green about that.

After a career in economics, banking and payment-systems management, Peter Smith now blogs on the topics of the day. He writes for Quadrant, Australia’s leading conservative online site and magazine. He has written Bad Economics, of which, he notes, there is much.


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10 comments on “The Greens' Cloud Cuckoo Land”

  1. The article didn't seem to mention how long the coal plants have been in service. The lifespan of coal or natural gas fired plant is 40-50 years.

    Australia does have LOTS of excess natural gas now being exported. A combined cycle gas power plant is much less expensive to install than a coal fired one.

    Hydrogen has been used in power generation for decades. It is a byproduct from the electrolysis of brine into chlorine and caustic soda. Boilers and gas turbines have long been fueled by them at such manufacturing sites.

    If there is plenty of room for wind/solar to be installed, it is a cheap way to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen. via electrolysis. Storage is an issue. This is not a bad idea for large power plants but not a good idea for everyday use in homes and vehicles. The tiniest leak can go KABOOM quickly. When installing compressors and other equipment for hydrogen service, a straw broom is passed around the flange to ensure that there is no leakage. You cannot see a hydrogen flame in the sunlight so if the broom doesn't catch fire, there isn't a leak. Hydrogen is used in any modern refinery and also in various chemical processes.

  2. "Woke energy sucks. Here in Wyoming, a wind company paid $8 million in federal fines for shredding eagles."

    Considering the subsidies they get, WE paid $8,000,000.00, they didn't pay a thing.

  3. We are heading fast into oblivion. These fools have decided the only way forward is to destroy mankind. There is no climate emergency, CO2 is near its lowest point ever, EVER. When CO2 was far more abundant in the atmosphere plants grew abundantly, and animals were able to reach massive sizes. As CO2 has increased, so have crops, feeding the world. If it should drop below 150 ppm, plant life will die, and so will all humans on earth. Our climate is a factor of the Milankovitch cycles, and the round-to-eliptical 400,000 year change in the rotation of the earth around the sun, man doesn't affect it a whit. We should be spending our resources trying to figure out how to feed mankind when the coming cooling arrives. Windmills won't help.

  4. Woke energy sucks. Here in Wyoming, a wind company paid $8 million in federal fines for shredding eagles.

  5. The only answer to the question as to why are they doing this is intentional or, less likely, unintentional depopulation of the human species on Earth. What other reason could there be?

  6. Next comes the Seasonal Sacrifice of a Virgin or Child to the Rain God or do like the Aztecs and rip out some ones heart

  7. Justine Trudeau says " hold my soy latte" and tries the same crap in a country that freezes rock hard for at least 6 months a year.

  8. Thanks to Michael Walsh for mentioning this meeting place for those who have lived and traveled all ovèr the world and now in this time of Anglo Western King Charles delusion are making our last stand in two weeks to bring forth the spirit of the Alamo from the old Bannon to the young Kirk outward from the Republic of Texas.

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