Snowy scheme’s a dud and National Electricity Guarantee is vague

Snowy scheme’s a dud and National Electricity Guarantee is vague, by Judith Sloan.

You may have missed the news that Germany has decided to ditch its preordained 2020 carbon dioxide emissions reduction target. The plan had been that emissions would be 40 per cent below their 2005 level by 2020.

But reality caught up with the German politicians who are still trying to form a government after months of negotiation. There is no way that the target of 40 per cent will be met even though the percentage of electricity generated in Germany by intermittent, renewable energy sources is approaching one-third. And did I mention the cost of maintaining the stability of the German electricity grid in the face of this high penetration of intermittent generation? Last year, one German electricity company spent more than €1 billion ($1.5bn) simply to ensure a stable grid in its area. …


Without government intervention, it is unimaginable that there will be a new coal-fired power plant, even a high-efficiency, low-emissions model. Sensing that the government’s new policy is failing to gain widespread support … Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has been out and about filling up the opinion pages of various newspapers spruiking the benefits of the National Electricity Guarantee as well as Snowy 2.0.

His latest salvo has been to sing the praises of electric vehicles … He essentially implores state governments to provide additional concessions by way of registration, stamp duty and the like. Who said rent-seeking died with the election of the Turnbull government? Mind you, according to figures he cites, the shift to electric vehicles will save a mere 15 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030, which is peanuts given our annual emissions of about 550 million tonnes. …

The normal forces of supply and demand do not operate in the electricity market when a rising proportion of new net supply is intermittent rather than dispatchable.

Coupled with the rule that the marginal supplier sets the price, it is entirely possible, even likely, that more renewable energy will lead to higher prices as low-cost sources of supply — coal-fired plants — are driven out of business. And then there is the additional investment in the transmission system needed to support the ongoing growth of distributed renewable energy — we are talking billions more dollars — and the stage is set for even higher prices to cover these costs. …

Snowy 2.0 is too expensive and will arrive too late. A proliferation of battery installations in the meantime — which have to be paid for — will fatally undercut the commercial case for this potential white elephant. Just think NBN when considering the likely fate of Snowy 2.0.

Complete waste of time and money. Carbon dioxide is not nearly as potent in warming the planet as the climate scientists believe, because they left something important out of all the climate models. Book coming.

hat-tip Stephen Neil