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A Review of the Problems  with Gencost 2018

In response to a letter from one of the authors of this paper to his State Member, the Minister for Energy and Environment stated[1] that ‘the most economic form of reliable generation is firmed renewables, and this is driving the biggest change in our electricity system’s history’.  The Minister’s letter also advised the author to seek further information, if required, from a nominated public servant.

The nominated public servant was subsequently contacted and her advice was sought on the reference for the Minister’s statement on the economics of renewables.  The author was duly advised that the CSIRO publication ‘GenCost 2018’ was the source.

GenCost 2018 was examined and a number of potential shortfalls were identified. In particular, GenCost 2018 advised that, ” On the other hand LCOE estimates, in their current form, can be misleading if they apply the same discount rate regardless of exposure to climate policy risk and inherently do not recognise the additional balancing technology that is required by variable renewable generation as its share of the generation mix increases. Given the variable renewable share is expected to increase in most Australian states, towards or beyond 50%, this is an issue that needs to be solved.”  

Accordingly, a short paper was developed to highlight the shortfalls and clarification was sought from the NSW Government.  The Government officials declined to provide further advice and the author was directed to the CSIRO.  Correspondence was forwarded to the CSIRO[2] with no response and it was determined that a more comprehensive analysis of the NSW Government’s electrical energy policies should be conducted with the view to seeking a meeting with the Minister.  This paper is the result of that determination.

[1] Minister for Energy and Environment letter MD20/609 dated 7 April 2020

[2] M.Bowden email to CSIRO dated 25 June 2020 and follow-up email dated 15 July 2020

September 2020; Why Renewable Cannot Work in Australia

Purpose. To explain that the transition to renewable energy will be very difficult in Australia with existing storage technology

Why Wind Power Won’t Work in Australia
The Island Effect

Purpose of this note: To explain why Australia, being an island, is seriously disadvantaged in attempting to achieve ambitious renewable energy targets.

The Lesson from Blackouts in California

Heatwave conditions in the USA and wildfires in California have recently precipitated a state of emergency with rolling power blackouts. California’s conventional power capacity has been run down in recent years while they promoted renewable energy from the sun and the wind. California will not go completely black because they have extension cords running into several adjacent states. In Australia we cannot turn to neighbours for power when we are short. This means we will have to maintain 100% of our conventional power sources to avoid outages whenever the wind is low and the doesn’t shine.

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