Not all power resides in the ACT

| June 18, 2022
Perhaps it’s because The Greens don’t have to bear the responsibility that comes with government, that leader Adam Bandt isn’t worried about the financial stress being felt by Australian families at present.
Having celebrated the closure of Hazelwood power station, Mr Bandt evidently did not consider the consequences of forcing energy policy ahead of a realistic timeline for re-employment or balancing power supply with demand. Ironically, it seems that no allowance was made for contingencies such the extreme weather which The Greens are constantly forecasting.
The ACT Greens Leader and Energy Minister, Shane Rattenbury, is credited with leading the ACT’s transition to 100% renewable energy and cheaper prices. National Greens Leader Adam Bandt says: “The lesson from the ACT could not be clearer: go 100% renewables, break up with fossil fuels and reap the benefits of cheaper, cleaner, reliable energy.”
That might give the impression that the ACT is self-sufficient in electricity. But that would be misleading because most of the electricity used in the ACT is generated elsewhere under contract. Sometimes the contract price is less than the current market price and consumers save. But they pay more when the market price is below the contract price.
Another thing to bear in mind is that only about 15% of electricity used in the ACT is for industry, whereas in NSW it’s about 80%. That means demand patterns differ greatly and supply reliability is crucial to economic and social wellbeing.
The ACT funds renewable electricity sources around Australia to feed into the national grid to offset the electricity it takes from the grid. But the national grid is like a big water tank with small and large pipes feeding in from many different sources. It’s obviously impossible to tell where a glass of water out of the tank came from.
Yes, there are plans to provide battery storage to smooth out the peaks and troughs in the electricity supply. However, we need to think more broadly than the ACT smoke and mirrors trick and beyond solar panels, wind farms, electric cars and other products of the retail environment industry. Otherwise, the energy numbers just won’t add up.
In 2020, the energy consumed by road transport alone in Australia was roughly equal to the output of 22 Hazelwood power stations running at 100% capacity 24/7. This is equivalent to the energy output of 5,600 7-Megawatt wind turbines or around 23,000 hectares of solar collectors.
For comparison, one of the world’s largest offshore windfarms – to be constructed near Wilsons Promontory – would generate about the same amount of electricity as one Hazelwood-size power station.
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