Sweating It: Renewable Energy Crisis Means Australians Can’t Run Air-Conditioners During Heatwaves

Wind & solar ‘powered’ South Australians pioneered sweating in the dark.


Once upon a time Australians enjoyed reliable and affordable power, but that was before heavily subsidised and chaotically intermittent wind and solar entered the scene.

Over the last few summers, Australians have been treated to power rationing and load shedding, as well as the odd mass blackout. These events have an uncanny correlation with dead calm days/nights and sunset that coincides with bursts of warm weather and rising mercury.

Summer heatwaves are part and parcel of Australian life.

Over the last four or five decades, though, an increasing number of Australians have enjoyed the benefit of reverse cycle air-conditioning, warming homes in winter and taking the ferocity out of their often-blistering summers.

Now Australians are being told to turn off their air conditioners and/or to leave home and go back to work in order to keep the grid from a total ‘system black’.

The team from Jo Nova detail the depth of the debacle below.

Thanks to wind and solar power, Australians have to drive to work to save the planet
Jo Nova Blog
Jo Nova
21 September 2020

Australians used to have an electricity grid that gave them the freedom to work from home.

For years they told us to work at home to help the environment.  But thanks to a decentralized unreliable grid, Australians are now being warned that it will be a “disaster” for the grid if they stay home and work with their air conditioner on in summer.

Now we better drive to work so the solar-windy-grid doesn’t fall over:

Why working from home could be a disaster for Australia’s electricity grid this summer
Emma Elsworthy, ABC

Air conditioners could send Australia’s power grid into meltdown this summer, as roughly one third of the workforce do their jobs from home, experts have warned.

According to research company Roy Morgan, more than 4.3 million Australians are working from home…

But warmer weather has come with a warning that increased use of air-conditioning in homes could lead to more blackouts and higher electricity bills.

“Air-conditioning is what drives our maximum demand in Australia,” said Peter Dobney, the former founding chairman of the Energy Users Association of Australia.

“We can expect higher prices, in fact, I think that’s a certainty.”

After installing solar panels on one in four houses we apparently don’t want people to stay home and use them to power their air conditioners. Instead we want them to get into their cars and drive in to large office blocks which we can still afford to keep cool.

Nearly 70% of Australians drive to work, and 30% spend almost an hour getting there. The freedom to spend nearly two hours a day not sitting in traffic is surprisingly popular. But now, just as people discover how good that can be, comes the bad news that our electricity grid doesn’t offer the freedom to turn on your air conditioner whenever you like anymore. The hours spent stuck in cars is just another kind of renewable tax.

No one saw this coming
Who would have thought that an electricity grid which is designed to make the weather nicer in 2100 would not work as well as an electricity grid designed to make cheap electricity now? Where were the university academics who were paid fat cheques to forecast our renewables future?

The grand irony is that as our power becomes less centralized and less efficient, our offices have to be more efficient. Thus decentralized power means centralized lives. Just another price of saving the Earth.

Evil coal fired power gives us freedom, but who wants that?

It’s 118 years since the first air conditioner was invented. They save 20,000 lives each year in the USA, and probably 2,000 a year in hot Australia. If only we could still afford to run them. If global warming is really going to happen,  cheap air conditioning and electricity would be even more important than ever. Do old lives matter?
Jo Nova Blog

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October 7, 2020 at 01:32AM

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