Aussie Climate Minister Rejects Claims the Grid will Fail when the Generators are Decommissioned

Essay by Eric Worrall

Aussie Climate and Energy Minister Chris Bowen is confident the grid will remain reliable as dispatchable generators are decommissioned, despite official reports which warn there are big problems.

Chris Bowen responds to AEMO report that predicts energy shortfalls if not enough investment

9:55AM FEBRUARY 21, 2023

Chris Bowen has sought to allay fears the east coast could exceed its energy capacity by the end of the decade. 

The Australian Energy Market Operator on Tuesday released an updated Electricity Statement of Opportunities report that warned of electricity supply shortages if renewable projects lagged behind the closure of fossil fuel plants.

“Urgent and ongoing investment in renewable energy, long-duration storage and transmission is needed to reliably meet demand from Australian homes and businesses.”

But the Energy Minister is optimistic the government is working fast to ensure there is clean, reliable energy available to fill the gaps left by retiring coal fire stations. 

“AEMO is correctly pointing out that there is still much, much more work to do,” Mr Bowen told ABC Radio. 

“I mean, in nine months have we fixed every single reliability gap for the next decade? No, there’s more work to do. 

“Am I pleased with what we’ve done? Yes. Am I yet satisfied? No.”

Read more:

The animated image at the tope of the page was excerpted from the following video, in which Chris Bowen explains we can store electricity like water.

The Australian Energy Market Operator warning which triggered this response is available here.

According to Grattan Institute energy director Tony Wood, responding to the AEMO warning, “What they are trying to say is they need gas“.

It is obvious to anyone with a grasp of the issues, that renewables and batteries haven’t got a hope of replacing decommissioned coal power plants, on anything like the required timescale.

In my opinion, betting on gas plants to be ready on time to replace the soon to be decommissioned coal plants, while slightly saner than betting on renewables, is still a wildly optimistic position. Australia is not a place where construction happens quickly, especially when construction companies which drag their feet would be in a position to extort large hurry up payments from the government.

Even if the gas plants were constructed in time, where would the gas come from? Gas shortages on the East Coast of Australia are a major issue, thanks to government hostility to fracking.

What can I say? There is a reason I have a big backup generator, and a large, legally maintained private supply of fuel.

All the handwaving in the world is not going to save the Aussie electric grid, if Bowen and his fellow travellers don’t start listening to people who can talk intelligently about the engineering issues, instead of leaping to dismiss concerns with meaningless platitudes.

via Watts Up With That?

February 21, 2023 at 01:04PM

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