Australia’s local weather minister has dismissed claims the grid will go down when mills shut down

Essay by Eric Worrall

Australia’s Climate and Energy Minister Chris Bowen is confident the grid will remain reliable as shippable generators are shut down, despite official reports warning of major problems.

Chris Bowen responds to the AEMO report predicting energy outages if not enough investment is made

09:55 AM FEBRUARY 21, 2023

Chris Bowen has tried to allay fears that the East Coast could exceed its energy capacity by the end of the decade.

Australia’s energy market operator released an updated Electricity Balance Opportunities report on Tuesday, which warned of electricity shortages if renewable energy projects lag behind fossil-fuel power plant closures.

“Urgent and continued investment in renewable energy, long-term storage and transmission is required to reliably meet Australian household and business demand.”

But the energy secretary is optimistic the government will work quickly to ensure clean, reliable energy is available to fill the gaps left by idle coal fire services.

“AEMO is right to point out that there is much, much more work to be done,” Mr Bowen told ABC Radio.

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

“Am I happy with what we’ve done? Yes. am i still satisfied NO.”

Read more: story /23c45b4b2de359af5a4d01c6a2c122a3

The animated image at the top of the page is an excerpt from the following video in which Chris Bowen explains that we can store electricity like water.

Chris Bowen has none of Uhlmann’s “wind doesn’t always blow” rhetoric.

“The rain doesn’t always fall either, but we manage to store the water – we can store the renewable energy if we have the investment” #auspol

— Squizz (@SquizzSTK) June 16, 2022

The Australian energy market operator’s alert that prompted this response is available here.

According to Grattan Institute Energy Director Tony Wood, he responded to the AEMO warning: “What they’re trying to say is they need gas”.

It is obvious to anyone who understands the issues that renewable energy and batteries have no hope of replacing decommissioned coal plants in the required timeframe.

In my opinion, betting on gas-fired power plants that will be ready in time to replace the soon-to-be-decommissioned coal-fired power plants is still a hugely optimistic position, although it’s a little more sensible than betting on renewable energy. Australia is not a fast-build place, especially when builders who sit back would be able to extort hefty rush payments from the government.

Even if the gas plants were built in time, where would the gas come from? Gas shortages on Australia’s east coast are a major problem, thanks to government hostility to fracking.

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

All the hand-waving in the world won’t save Australia’s power grid unless Bowen and his fellow travelers start listening to people who can talk intelligently about technical problems, rather than dismissing concerns with meaningless platitudes.


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