A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Ontario’s government cancels 758 Solar and Wind contracts

 Someone finally found a way to reduce electricity bills with solar and wind contracts

TORONTO — Ontario’s new Progressive Conservative government is cancelling 758 renewable energy contracts, in what it says is an effort to reduce electricity bills in the province.

Energy Minister Greg Rickford said the move will save provincial ratepayers $790 million — a figure industry officials dispute, saying it will just mean job losses for small business.

In a statement Friday, Rickford said the government plans to introduce legislation during its summer sitting that would protect hydro consumers from any costs incurred from the cancellation.

“For 15 years, Ontario families and businesses have been forced to pay inflated hydro prices so the government could spend on unnecessary and expensive energy schemes,” Rickford said. “Those days are over.”

Opponents complained that this would cost jobs. Obviously they forget the Green job multiplier: for every Green job lost 3 – 5 real jobs will be created.

Renewables fans said this will lead to big lawsuits and called it a war on science. What they did not say was how this was an opportunity missed because all these projects would be profitable selling electricity to local businesses.

If only they could have…

New Greens reason: do it because you’re supporting a big Vested Interest

Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner said the cancellation means the province is turning its back on the global renewable industry, which he said is worth billions and is a proven job creator. Schreiner added the decision also sends a number of negative signals about the province to business.

Because billion dollar industries need all the help they can get, right?

Go show the world Ontario! This is how its done.

h/t Pat


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Turnbull to consider new Coal power in Australia (ten years too late)

Last week only fringe loonies who were clinging to a dead technology were calling for a coal revival (mock mock mock). But now that the ACCC has spent months investigating and 400 pages reporting, they discovered that Tony Abbott and Craig Kelly and the Monash group were, hey, all right all along.

This is Turnbulls get-out-of-jail card, if he used it as an excuse to be sensible. He has in the past taken those cards and set fire to them. In a best case, he might, with arm twisted in a one-spare-seat-government, “build new coal” sometime in the far distant future, but whatever he does he won’t do anything other than minor hand waving about the Crony Green-Theft runaway train profits.

Turnbull weighs coal fix for energy wars

Simon Benson and Ben Packham, The Australian

A proposal for the federal government to financially guarantee the construction and operation of new dispatchable power generation, which could include clean coal-fired plants, is expected to be taken to cabinet with the backing of the Prime Minister.

Malcolm Turnbull yesterday confirmed he would seriously consider the key recommendation of a report by the competition watchdog to underwrite and potentially subsidise new “firm” and cheap power generation for industrial and commercial users.

Signalling a possible end to the energy wars within the Coalition partyroom, the recommendation was immediately endorsed by ­Nationals MPs, who have interpreted it as a green light for government to intervene in supporting the future of coal generation.

h/t RobK

The government wouldn’t need to buy new coal plants if our market wasn’t so screwed in the first place. But it is screwed, so “OK”. Better would be for the government to get out of the market, stop trying to use our electricity grid as a Global Climate Controller, stop forcing consumers to buy green electrons, stop trying to pick-the-winners in the tech game, stop big energy groups from owning every kind of generator and game the bidding system, stop building transmission lines to Kalamazoo and stop employing green activists to run our national energy market.

No End to the Energy Wars

As for the idea that this “signals an end to the energy wars”… Not A Chance.

As long as customers are being forced to spend money on magical glass panels to stop droughts and save whales, or to subsidize windmills to hold back the tide and stop crocodiles, there will be no end to the energy wars. As long as Chinese Crypto miners can get electricity at a third of the price in Australia that Australian Newsagents can we know we still have a problem. Once the public realizes how fool politicians sold them out to the renewables industry with witchdoctor excuses, there will be hell to pay.

Still crook. H1N1.+ RSV icing.

See also:


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Post Hazelwood: Snowy Hydro dam now three quarters empty

They’re running our largest Hydro Lake down

The large Hazelwood Coal Units closed a year ago,  so the Snowy Mountain Hydro Scheme has been working hard to fill the holes in the unreliable generation that replaced it. And they’ve been collecting tidy profits from earning RET certificates too.

What could possibly go wrong?

This — levels of Lake Eucumbene have fallen to 24%. This is the lowest since 2010. It’s not the lowest ever (so that’s alright then).

The rain will just fill it right up, unless there is an El Nino. Don’t look now… Odds are “above average”.

Who I say, who could have predicted this?!

Graham Lloyd, The Australian

Snowy Hydro’s biggest storage dam has fallen to less than 25 per cent capacity due to poor rains and high electricity generation following the closure of the ­Hazelwood coal power station in Victoria.

Lake Eucumbene is now at its lowest level since 2010 and on its way to a repeat of 2007 when electricity generation had to be stopped in favour of a heavily ­polluting fossil-fuel generator in Victoria.

The Hydro chief said they had been generating more to “take advantage of tight market conditions.” And we all know what that means.

This is tough for fishermen and tourists.

Alan Basford, who has been at Anglers Reach Caravan Park on the shores of Lake Eucumbene for 50 years, said things were becoming desperate.

“We have been very concerned for a long while,” Mr ­Basford told The Australian.He stopped pumping water for the park three months ago and said what usually was a 3km stretch of water out the front of his property was now “just a river”.

The fishing is still good but ­visitors can no longer get to the water. “We haven’t had any rain for a long time but it’s going down like mad because they are generating electricity,” Mr Basford said.

“They are generating all the time and using water like it is going out of style.”

What about that rainfall?

Heavy rains are required to ­replenish the Eucumbene reservoir, but the Bureau of Meteorology winter outlook is for below-average rainfall for NSW, South Australia, northern Vic­toria…

Look at what happened to Q2 prices on the NEM the last time we had a major hydro drought?

See that big bump years ago? That was it. Across all eastern states.

Australian Q2 NEM prices. Graph, Drought, renewables.


We pay $1b a year to genius investigators at the ABC to help us have a national conversation to avoid these blindingly obvious risks. Find that discussion…

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Ten years late the ACCC says rooftop solar deals must stop

The ACCC is a powerful body created to protect consumers in Australia. Now, after ten years of poor people being forced to pay for middle and upper class solar panels in a kind of semi-secret subsidy-tax, NOW, it says maybe it is time to stop?


Competition watchdog calls for solar subsidies to be axed

Ben Packham, Sam Buckingham-Jones, The Australian

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s electricity affordability report reveals the huge cost of environmental schemes across the National Energy Market, including the large-scale renewable energy target, the small-scale renewable energy scheme and solar feed-in tariffs.

The schemes add a combined $170 to household energy bills in South Australia, $155 in Tasmania, $109 in NSW, $93 in Victoria and $76 in Queensland.

 The ACCC waffles some reasons:

The ACCC said the costs associated with the LRET were expected to fall significantly after 2020, and did not recommend any action to wind up the scheme before its 2030 end date. But it said the SRES, which cost $130 million in 2016-17, should be wound down and abolished by 2021, almost a decade ahead of schedule, to reduce costs for consumers.

When did the ACCC ask what value non-solar customers were getting from this deal?

Solar installers must be starting to panic….

Western Sydney Solar owner Rod Grono said he was worried that abolishing the rooftop solar subsidy would lead to a plunge in solar installations.

And the truth about the return on investment becomes clearer:

“Confidence will fall. For a $10,000, 5.2kW job, (small-scale technology certificates) are about $3300. That means a four-year payback becomes a seven or eight-year payback. That might tip people over,” Mr Grono said.

 Solar is competitive if you give it a one third head start:

Modelling suggested the SRES would fund about 32 per cent of the cost of a 5kW system by 202


I’ll have a lot more to say on this. Sadly am crook. Thanks to TDeF, Robber, ROM for help. Watch this space….

*Why is the burden on non solar homes? Because some with solar panels got paid above market rates for green electrons, and other solar homes got the use of subsidized equipment so they just didn’t have to buy so much electricity.

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This isn’t Soft Brexit; it is Remain by another name

“Truly heading for the status of colony”

Britain is suddenly very interesting (for the eight hundredth time in the History of Western Civilization). It’s a defining moment. Fans of the establishment didn’t want Brexit,  so they tried a scare campaign, which failed. They tried on a second vote and legal means, and namecalling “xenophobic isolationist” — all the usual. Anything but a polite list of good reasons to stay in (something to counter the brilliant Daniel Hannan’s points, not to mention the happy existence of Switzerland and Norway). Now they wear the cloak and try the Remain By Stealth option (like our Carbon Tax by Stealth). Call it Brexit but make the reality the same. It is an absolute scandal for the working class and poor in the UK. Hence the string of resignations…

The peasants don’t want people in Brussels deciding what kind of hair dryer and vacuum cleaner they may buy.

James Delingpole is in fine form as a spokesperson for the downtrodden:

Brexit, it is now becoming clear, was our Peasants’ Revolt in more ways than one.

It was our Peasants’ Revolt in the sense that it was an uprising of ordinary people against an accountable elite.

The poor voted for Brexit:

Keep reading  →

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Hydro storage is an anti-generator that destroys 20-30% of the electricity fed into it

We’re planning to spend $5,000 million on something to smooth out the bumps from unreliable generators. It is entirely unnecessary in a system where coal supplies the baseload and we have not created artificial rules forcing people to use green electrons in preference over stable and predictable ones. Most estimates of costs from wind and solar ignore the hidden costs — the destructive effect on the whole grid.

Wikipedia on Pumped Storage Hydroelectricity:

“the round-trip energy efficiency of PSH varies between 70%–80%,[4][5][6][7] with some sources claiming up to 87%.[8]

h/t Peter Rees, Michael Crawford, Ian Waters.

Even after Snowy Hydro 2.0, power will cost $90/MWh

Joe Kelly, The Australian last week:

Energy project financier David Carland — the executive director of Australian Resources Development Limited — argues that once the Snowy Hydro project is operating it will provide only partial back-up energy at a high cost.

Using Snowy Hydro’s modelling assumptions, Dr Carland’s calculations show the “levelised cost of energy” — or unit-cost of electricity over the lifetime of an asset — will deliver power significantly in excess of $90/MWh, after allowing for the cost of storage, cycle losses and the initial cost of buying energy at off-peak prices.

The effect of “cycle losses” means Snowy 2.0 will have to buy around 30 per cent more power in order to pump water uphill than it can generate when water is released from the upper storage.

“Snowy 2.0 is a pump storage operation that is a net user of energy and therefore cannot resolve the longer-term issues of the lack of baseload supply in the national electricity market,” Dr Carland told The Australian. “Based on Snowy Hydro’s own modelling the scenario in which Snowy 2.0 prospers is a world in which average power prices continue to rise.”

Costs are never coming back down

Kiss goodbye to the old $30/MWh average cost of the NEM wholesale electricity market.

Snowy 2.0, Price forecast, NSW, Graph.


Why is the NSW old average $50/MWh?  I think that’s artificially high. Retail prices fell from 1955-1980 and then held stable for decades.  They ominously started rising faster than inflation from 2005 which was when intermittent generation began to build on the grid. There was also a major drought in 2007.

Retail Electricity prices, Australia, Graph, Adjusted for inflation. 1955-2018


On the National Energy Market (NEM), most states, most years could generate electricity for a wholesale price of  $30/Mwh.

UPDATE: As it happens today South Australia is having one of those $14,000/MWh moments. Lucky there is a cap eh, or we might see million dollar electricity.  h/t Dave B

Australia wide NEM graph of wholesale electricity costs.

NSW (dark purple). QLD (light purple), SA (red), Vic (grey) and Tas (green)

Those days are gone unless we save our old coal plants and stop favouring green electrons.
The government doesn’t need to build coal plants, it needs to abandon the RET and all pagan attempts to change the weather with our generators.

The market will sort the problem out if the government gets out of the way.

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My crystal ball model says Noctilucent clouds, which we have almost no data on, must be man-made!

Noctilucent Clouds
Scientists wondered whether climate change was affecting super high clouds that people rarely see and there is virtually no data on. So they used models which fail on clouds and water vapor only ten kilometers above the Earth and tried to predict what happened to both way up at 80 kilometers up and 150 years ago. They “found” (their phrase, not mine) the increase was man made. So once again, your car exhaust and dinner steak are to blame for changing these night-shining clouds.

How could it be any other way?

This is pure crystal ball science that starts with errors and ends with extrapolations. Researchers are fooling themselves using words like “results”, “indicator” and “significant” as if this was an actual experiment.


Climate change is making night-shining clouds more visible


WASHINGTON — Increased water vapor in Earth’s atmosphere due to human activities is making shimmering high-altitude clouds more visible, a new study finds. The results suggest these strange but increasingly common clouds seen only on summer nights are an indicator of human-caused climate change, according to the study’s authors.

Noctilucent, or night-shining, clouds are the highest clouds in Earth’s atmosphere. They form in the middle atmosphere, or mesosphere, roughly 80 kilometers (50 miles) above Earth’s surface. The clouds form when water vapor freezes around specks of dust from incoming meteors. Watch a video about noctilucent clouds here. [Or not, there is no link? - Jo]

Humans first observed noctilucent clouds in 1885, after the eruption of Krakatoa volcano in Indonesia spewed massive amounts of water vapor in the air. Sightings of the clouds became more common during the 20th century, and in the 1990s scientists began to wonder whether climate change was making them more visible.

Or was it just that there were six billion more people to notice the noctilucents? Who can tell?

In a new study, researchers used satellite observations and climate models to simulate how the effects of increased greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels have contributed to noctilucent cloud formation over the past 150 years. Extracting and burning fossil fuels delivers carbon dioxide, methane and water vapor into the atmosphere, all of which are greenhouse gases.

Why bother with satellites, we can just simulate space and history…

In the new study, Lübken and colleagues ran computer simulations to model the Northern Hemisphere’s atmosphere and noctilucent clouds from 1871 to 2008. They wanted to simulate the effects of increased greenhouse gases, including water vapor, on noctilucent cloud formation over this time period.

Who needs observations?

“We speculate that the clouds have always been there, but the chance to see one was very, very poor, in historical times,” said Franz-Josef Lübken, an atmospheric scientisNASA-NLC-4.jpgt at the Leibniz Institute of Atmospheric Physics in Kühlungsborn, Germany and lead author of the new study in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

The researchers found the presence of noctilucent clouds fluctuates from year to year and even from decade to decade, depending on atmospheric conditions and the solar cycle. But over the whole study period, the clouds have become significantly more visible.

Over the whole study period? Meaning during the last ten minutes…

Read the introduction of the paper. “Little is known”, “observations are rather challenging” but there is a consensus

Keep reading  →

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