Thursday, 29 September 2016

The power blackout Australia had to have, and we all have to learn from


Comment at Catallaxy Files

South Australia’s total state-wide power blackout (no electricity across the state apart from four diesel generators in hospitals) was the energy disaster Australian energy policies had made inevitable, and the wake-up call the rest of the industrialised world needed to have.

“There were no implications for other Australian states from the extensive blackout,” said Clean Energy Council policy manager Tom Butler in the wake of the disaster, denying any relationship between his “hipster energy” and the blackout – when it’s clear that the connection could not be more strong, and the implications far wider than just for other Australian states.

All of us should sit up and take notice.

Some years ago I wrote that NZ’s “Green Dream Team” of Kyoto + RMA would lead inevitably to long-term problems here in NZ:

The greenies’ anti-development crusade reached its climax in this country with the RMA, an act making the future construction of necessary infrastructure (like power stations and hydro dams) virtually impossible. Their anti-energy crusade has reached its climax with the Kyoto Protocol, promising measures to strangle our existing infrastructure (like power stations and industrial plants)… together, these bureaucratic monsters will act like a calicivirus on industry, and on all who depend on industry for their survival

The fact is that South Australia sucked down the same anti-development, anti-energy crusade as we did here, but in even greater doses. Anti-development laws burdened the building of new energy infrastructure and encouraged the mothballing of existing reliable energy producers; while anti-fossil-full crusading meant that any new energy producers in the state were almost soley so-called “renewables.”

The forced shutdown of operating coal plants and mandated increased use of renewables had significantly increased energy costs to consumers by eliminating production from low cost power plants while increasing use of more costly renewable energy which also requires the operation of higher cost natural gas power plants for reliability backup with these backup costs hidden from consumers.

This had made South Australia dangerously reliant on the dangerously unreliable form of energy production known in the green movement as “renewable energy” – and when the interconnection with Victoria failed, so too did the much-hyped “renewable energy” base.


Renewables? Call them unreliables.

A once in a 50-year storm was enough to shut down the renewables-packed grid, shut down all supply and send the state reeling straight back (quite literally) into the dark ages.

A warning about the undue reliance came as recently as the weekend, the Grattan Institute arguing “that the disconnect between climate change policy and energy markets poses a clear threat to the security of energy supply.”

The renewable energy target has encouraged the development of wind and solar generation but has the potential to undermine supply security at a reasonable price, since it forces the closure of inefficient power stations without encouraging the construction of the necessary new generation supply sources.

This is precisely the effect of the Green Dream Team in action, from which no western country is today immune.

We forget too easily that energy creation is what leverages human effort; without which we would all struggle to stay alive. And that until so-called renewable forms of energy become actually reliable, then we should abandon reliable forms of energy production at our peril.

So we in NZ can at least be grateful that Huntly’s reliable thermal generators will remain open for a few years yet, even as we decry Nick Smith’s Emissions Tax Scam that makes its production of energy less profitable.

But when you hear next time the siren song of a green crusader arguing to make reliable energy production more costly, more difficult and less likely – telling you wind and solar are all our civilisation needs to keep on rolling -- just call to mind what might be a useful battle-cry:

Remember South Australia!

Because the same Green Dream Team destroying energy, lives and futures there is still at work here as well.


NB: This graph below – care of Aneroid Energy [and hat tip Jim Rose and Stop These Things] shows precisely what happened when South Australia needed to lean on its much-hyped base of Unreliables:



Let Russel Norman never, never, never tell you we can rely on “renewables” when we’re in a hole.

To paraphrase Lou Reed:

You can’t depend on renewables,
When you need them you know they’re not there.




  1. If power outages become frequent and widespread because of the failure of renewables, it will be only a matter of time before there is backlash from the people getting pissed off not having reliable power and they will vote out those politicians promoting renewables in favour of politicians promoting power that works, like nuclear power.

  2. Also it seems to be the leftist type greenie who cannot cope with loss of power and the consequences. Many just fall apart with such outages, whereas others just get on with it.

    Here in rural Auckland we get many such outages, which take out the water as well, and you just get buckets from the water tank and so forth. No big deal.

    Ponsonby Road greenie types would be traumatised.

  3. It's being widely reported over here as a problem with delivery, not production.


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