Why Australia's power prices are going up?

 
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
South Australia is entering a new phase of its transition towards a 100 per cent renewable energy grid, with solar starting to become the biggest contributor to the state’s grid in the middle of the day.
Carnot
Who provides the evening peak? Not solar.

Some of those with rooftop arrays in South Australia are being paid 55 cents per kw/h to provide electricity to the grid at times of the day when it isn't required.

How is this sensible policy? How does this benefit South Australia, subsidising to the hilt a lop-sided grid system that provides the most expensive domestic electricity in the world?

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  Carnot Chief Commissioner

South Australia is entering a new phase of its transition towards a 100 per cent renewable energy grid, with solar starting to become the biggest contributor to the state’s grid in the middle of the day.
Who provides the evening peak? Not solar.

Some of those with rooftop arrays in South Australia are being paid 55 cents per kw/h to provide electricity to the grid at times of the day when it isn't required.

How is this sensible policy? How does this benefit South Australia, subsidising to the hilt a lop-sided grid system that provides the most expensive domestic electricity in the world?
don_dunstan
All the more reason to have pumped hydro and battery storage.  More expensive in the short-term due to capital costs, but cheaper in the long-run.

My main beef with current energy policy is that the Govt is subsidizing the wealthy who can afford solar, but penalize the poor who can't.  A more equitable way forward is Govt or Industry funded capital investment in new power generation.  It sounds a bit Socialist, but it's a better way forward than stealing from the poor to benefit the rich.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
All the more reason to have pumped hydro and battery storage.  More expensive in the short-term due to capital costs, but cheaper in the long-run.

My main beef with current energy policy is that the Govt is subsidizing the wealthy who can afford solar, but penalize the poor who can't.  A more equitable way forward is Govt or Industry funded capital investment in new power generation.  It sounds a bit Socialist, but it's a better way forward than stealing from the poor to benefit the rich.
Carnot
Pumped hydro is dead and buried now that its most prominent proponent Turnbull has bit the dust. It was going to be incredibly inefficient and expensive to build anyway.

It's presently poor people who are subsiding the rich to harvest money from a ridiculous state government program to destabilise our grid and make it more unreliable. The stupidity of the rush to unreliables is epitomised in that fact... and it's never going to change, the whole reason why that policy is in place is because it robs the poor.

South Australia is the test tube for what's going to happen to the rest of the nation - world's most expensive and unreliable electricity, massive subsidies from the state government to pay people to install 50,000 toxic-waste-of-the-future batteries.

Burn the bloody coal instead of exporting it to the Indians and Chinese to burn it. Why do they get to have cheap power and I can't? Because of an idea?
  Groundrelay Chief Commissioner

Location: Surrounded by Trolls!
... It sounds a bit Socialist, but it's a better way forward than stealing from the poor to benefit the rich.
Carnot
Everything's 'socialist' if you expect tax payers to pay for it, including forgoing revenue. The 'ism' is in the eye of the beholder. I have no issue with means tested subsidies.

Renewables are getting blamed but it's there's plenty of other factors which got power prices this high. However it's also classic misdirection. Your power bills might go down a little (the figure keeps changing - less each time), however any savings are SFA when you look at how petrol prices have jumped and health care costs are going through the roof but nothing to see there Rolling Eyes
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Renewables are getting blamed but it's there's plenty of other factors which got power prices this high.
Groundrelay
Every grid-captive user in this nation pays $170 p/a as a direct subsidy to unreliables. That's not including the direct grants that the SA and VIC governments have given the unreliables industry in the last twelve months.

It may not be the only factor that has seen a whopping increase in power bills but I for one would prefer not to pay $170 a year for some invisible carbon fairy to be vanquished.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
South Australia is entering a new phase of its transition towards a 100 per cent renewable energy grid, with solar starting to become the biggest contributor to the state’s grid in the middle of the day.
Who provides the evening peak? Not solar.

Some of those with rooftop arrays in South Australia are being paid 55 cents per kw/h to provide electricity to the grid at times of the day when it isn't required.

How is this sensible policy? How does this benefit South Australia, subsidising to the hilt a lop-sided grid system that provides the most expensive domestic electricity in the world?
All the more reason to have pumped hydro and battery storage.  More expensive in the short-term due to capital costs, but cheaper in the long-run.

My main beef with current energy policy is that the Govt is subsidizing the wealthy who can afford solar, but penalize the poor who can't.  A more equitable way forward is Govt or Industry funded capital investment in new power generation.  It sounds a bit Socialist, but it's a better way forward than stealing from the poor to benefit the rich.
Carnot
The more affluent driving lower emission more fuel efficient cars, have cheaper energy demanding houses, fly on planes that use less fuel etc etc etc, thats life. The problem with applying ideology over market rates, is that the people who can afford to pay for the ideology is the more affluent.

There is also no stealing from the poor as the poor don't pay taxes or the taxes they pay are less than the social welfare hand outs. Generally speaking if you are on less than average wage you are not contributing to the Fed govt's overall income after welfare payments are factored in. The bulk of the fed govts income comes from the higher income earners. The biggest issue for lower income earner is that they tend to rent and renters have limited options to get houses with solar as whats the incentive for the owner (me being one).

Battery storage is a NON solution for the large scale grid problems. The Tesla battery and other smaller ones may have their place or look pretty, but realistically isn't going to solve big problems, yet! Helps in smaller grid locations and will soon benefit Solar PV owners.

Pumped hydro has its place, but its expensive power designed for solving peak demand issues, not regular demand as remember pumped hydro does not generate 1MW of new energy, it just recycles, at a cost! With pumped hydro you need to generate about 120% of the original demand.

So that means if you have a coal power station is running at say $60/MW with a 85% reliability, the PV solar/wind that supported the pumped hydro needs generate power at around $25MWh as does the pumped hydro to be on par with coal. Additionally with coal if you have a 2400MW of installed capacity in say 6 units with say  stand-by Gas Turbine for breakdowns, you need 3-4 x the installed capacity in PV solar and wind, ie 7500 to 10000MW of installed capacity to make up for the very low load factor, nominally around 33%. There will be some pumped solutions that work and make sense, but others not so and in a country of limited rain and in case of SA, limited places to build, pumped hydro is not the golden child its made out to be. Snowy 2.0 I believe will not happen as the costs are fully exposed.

PV solar has its place and I like the technology, its cheap to install and uses free land and effectively free or at least hidden maintenance costs on mostly domestic housing as neither are reflected in the actual price and output. More efficient directional solar farms typically use Australia's lower cost land with little agricultural use.  PV output typically follows peaking demand with the exception of late PM and early PM where we are currently seeing the highest prices.

Wind in the right locations has an output that can compliment PV solar in that the two rarely go to 0% and 100% together and wind on the coast can be good and generating power later in the afternoon. But neither PV solar or wind solves the 24/7 solution.

The CO2 issue, the most common back up for non-despatchable power is Gas Turbine, you can build coal fired power plants that are more efficient on CO2 emissions than a open cycle gas turbine. The problem with the bulk of Australia's coal fired power stations is that they use dated technology designed and built in an era of cheap coal and who cares emissions targets. If you replace them with the latest technology as per even China, emissions such as SO2, NOX and CO2 are far lower.

The way to solve the power price and reliability issue is simple.
- End the subsidies for RE. You want to build, go for it! We hear so often that RE has faster turn around and income generatio than coal, so fine build away, but I'm not paying.
- Non-despatacble power suppliers cannot bid against dispatchable power suppliers unless they provide a 24/7 guarantee which is required in some countries, I think UK being one of them.
- Remove the POLITICAL RISK for building coal power stations.

RE will come, no doubt about it, the price is dropping, the technology evolving, but lets do it with some commonsense and not destroy our industry more than we have and maybe even bring some back as well as give power prices that Australian's who live in the world's most energy abundant country per capita deserve. Do this and you don't need welfare payments to lower income earners to fund PV solar or off-set their higher power prices.


Something to think about
Dubai has minimal oil and limited gas reserves and imports gas at certain times of the year. Its power sector is now 99% gas turbine, closed cycle with open cycle boosters and uses the waste heat from closed cycle to desalinate seawater for the city.

The 0-2000kW monthly tariff I pay is $A 8.5c/kW and rises to 13c/kW for over 6000kW/mth. Power is not subsidised for expats (457/482 equivalent visa holders) which make up 85% of the population and there are some other fuel charges when gas prices are high and VAT.

If you cannot get domestic power in Australia at this price, you have to ask why? Don't blame the aging mostly devalued coal fire power stations. The Gold Plating of the grid is not reflected in the wholesale prices.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Somewhat tangential, but the solar farm industry in Australia is employing backpackers because of the perception (real or otherwise) that local workers are too zonked out on drugs to do the work:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-26/queensland-solar-farms-employing-backpacker-labour/10302500
  michaelgm Chief Commissioner

Backpackers, or BPs are employed across multiple sectors. Why?
Cheap and paid cash. Witnessed personally in the building industry.
A ready supply and disposable.
OH&S what's that?
Not paid, sue me, or chase me payment.
Your visa conditions probably indicate you can't work anyway. Lots of luck.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Backpackers, or BPs are employed across multiple sectors. Why?
Cheap and paid cash. Witnessed personally in the building industry.
A ready supply and disposable.
OH&S what's that?
Not paid, sue me, or chase me payment.
Your visa conditions probably indicate you can't work anyway. Lots of luck.
michaelgm
The 'Gig Economy'....
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Tesla battery brings prices down:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-02/tesla-battery-proves-a-leading-source-of-dispatchable-power/10326420

I agree that by itself it's not going to fix our supply problems (it's only a battery, duh!), but it's an important piece of the puzzle.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
South Australia is entering a new phase of its transition towards a 100 per cent renewable energy grid, with solar starting to become the biggest contributor to the state’s grid in the middle of the day.
Who provides the evening peak? Not solar.

Some of those with rooftop arrays in South Australia are being paid 55 cents per kw/h to provide electricity to the grid at times of the day when it isn't required.

How is this sensible policy? How does this benefit South Australia, subsidising to the hilt a lop-sided grid system that provides the most expensive domestic electricity in the world?
don_dunstan
Its about time Roof top PV moved off fixed price to a price linked to the whole price of the time, very easily done as many home PV systems now web connected. This would create a natural supply/demand balance, without subsidy. Also as battery technology becomes more cheaper this will drive people from trying to pump it into the grid during the day and store for night when its more needed.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Tesla battery brings prices down:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-02/tesla-battery-proves-a-leading-source-of-dispatchable-power/10326420

I agree that by itself it's not going to fix our supply problems (it's only a battery, duh!), but it's an important piece of the puzzle.
Carnot
Yep, battery's don't generate power, they only store it and use about 5% or so extra when doing so.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
Somewhat tangential, but the solar farm industry in Australia is employing backpackers because of the perception (real or otherwise) that local workers are too zonked out on drugs to do the work:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-26/queensland-solar-farms-employing-backpacker-labour/10302500
Carnot
A visit to a backpacker's hostel will cause a quick reassessment of the claim that they are less 'zonked out on drugs or alcohol' than locals.

They're exploitable labour and any employer that uses them to do safety-critical skilled labour like electrical work (!) should be banned from managing anything more important than a lemonade stand.
  DirtyBallast Chief Commissioner

Location: I was here first. You're only visiting.
Further proof that renewables actually lower the wholesale cost of electricity, in an article from a website that Don has previously linked to enhance his arguments, viz: credible to naysayers:

https://theconversation.com/the-verdict-is-in-renewables-reduce-energy-prices-yes-even-in-south-australia-108251?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20December%206%202018%20-%201179010714&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20December%206%202018%20-%201179010714+CID_df6e63182a76fdba913fcdcb4a385714&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=The%20verdict%20is%20in%20renewables%20reduce%20energy%20prices%20yes%20even%20in%20South%20Australia

Salient in this article is the point made that "We also considered whether customers would have been better off if the state government had stepped in to extend the life of the Northern coal fired power station. Northern’s closure in 2016 raised wholesale prices by A$13 per MWh, but by 2018 all of this was offset by price reductions attributable to higher production from the wind and sun."
  DJPeters Assistant Commissioner

I can give you the answer to prices of power going up in Australia in one word and that word is "GREED".
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
All the more reason to have pumped hydro and battery storage.  More expensive in the short-term due to capital costs, but cheaper in the long-run.

My main beef with current energy policy is that the Govt is subsidizing the wealthy who can afford solar, but penalize the poor who can't.  A more equitable way forward is Govt or Industry funded capital investment in new power generation.  It sounds a bit Socialist, but it's a better way forward than stealing from the poor to benefit the rich.
Pumped hydro is dead and buried now that its most prominent proponent Turnbull has bit the dust. It was going to be incredibly inefficient and expensive to build anyway.

It's presently poor people who are subsiding the rich to harvest money from a ridiculous state government program to destabilise our grid and make it more unreliable. The stupidity of the rush to unreliables is epitomised in that fact... and it's never going to change, the whole reason why that policy is in place is because it robs the poor.

South Australia is the test tube for what's going to happen to the rest of the nation - world's most expensive and unreliable electricity, massive subsidies from the state government to pay people to install 50,000 toxic-waste-of-the-future batteries.

Burn the bloody coal instead of exporting it to the Indians and Chinese to burn it. Why do they get to have cheap power and I can't? Because of an idea?
don_dunstan

My pet parrot comes up with the same cliches all the time.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
My pet parrot comes up with the same cliches all the time.
bingley hall
Maybe your kids would have jobs instead of being unemployed if we were allowed to burn coal.
  ParkesHub Chief Commissioner

My pet parrot comes up with the same cliches all the time.
Maybe your kids would have jobs instead of being unemployed if we were allowed to burn coal.
don_dunstan
You can go and build you own coal fired power plant anytime you want. So can anyone else.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
I can give you the answer to prices of power going up in Australia in one word and that word is "GREED".
DJPeters
I would also have said GREED plus the fact that 'they' are permitted to get away with it.
  Groundrelay Chief Commissioner

Location: Surrounded by Trolls!
My pet parrot comes up with the same cliches all the time.
Maybe your kids would have jobs instead of being unemployed if we were allowed to burn coal.
don_dunstan
Simplistic in the extreme.

Factors behind the rising cost of electricity and gas are well documented and burning all the coal in the world wouldn't make that much difference. Coal as an energy source will never be free, quite the opposite. It needs to be mined, processed and transported even if each lump cost $0.00!

You want jobs. Stop, then reverse automation.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
My pet parrot comes up with the same cliches all the time.
Maybe your kids would have jobs instead of being unemployed if we were allowed to burn coal.
don_dunstan

Well with your warped 19th century logic we could always send them down the pits instead of giving them an education.

That would solve the challenge Razz
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
My pet parrot comes up with the same cliches all the time.
Maybe your kids would have jobs instead of being unemployed if we were allowed to burn coal.
You can go and build you own coal fired power plant anytime you want. So can anyone else.
ParkesHub
Current govt policy and lack of policy makes this not a viable or rather high risk option more than the economics of a coal fired power station.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
My pet parrot comes up with the same cliches all the time.
Maybe your kids would have jobs instead of being unemployed if we were allowed to burn coal.
Simplistic in the extreme.

Factors behind the rising cost of electricity and gas are well documented and burning all the coal in the world wouldn't make that much difference. Coal as an energy source will never be free, quite the opposite. It needs to be mined, processed and transported even if each lump cost $0.00!

You want jobs. Stop, then reverse automation.
Groundrelay
No energy source is free.

Automation is not a cause for unemployment.
  ParkesHub Chief Commissioner

My pet parrot comes up with the same cliches all the time.
Maybe your kids would have jobs instead of being unemployed if we were allowed to burn coal.

Well with your warped 19th century logic we could always send them down the pits instead of giving them an education.

That would solve the challenge Razz
bingley hall
Yeah. You're correct. Give those damn pit ponies something to do as well! And: Bring back the chimney sweeps!
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
No energy source is free.

Automation is not a cause for unemployment.
RTT_Rules
Partly true; depends on the industry doesn't it. Welcome back, Shane you haven't been on much lately.
And: Bring back the chimney sweeps!
ParkesHub
Creates jobs doesn't it.

My retired friends in the Ballarat area were thinking of putting a wood-burner in to combat their astronomical electricity bill in the winter but they realised that they're kinda past chopping wood, shovelling ashes and getting the chimney done. Although timber is relatively cheap where they are being a small country town - $100 for a massive trailer of good quality box/redgum whatever.

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