The shock­ing Finkel Re­port will burn us

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - OPINION OURS & YOURS - PIERS AK­ER­MAN

THE Finkel re­port is a blue­print for de­struc­tion — of the Aus­tralian econ­omy and de­struc­tion of the Lib­eral Party.

Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull would do him­self a huge favour if he dumped the ir­re­vo­ca­bly flawed Finkel re­port im­me­di­ately. More­over, he would save the na­tion and his party from oblit­er­a­tion.

Chief Sci­en­tist Alan Finkel pre­sented a doc­u­ment which only high­lights how ridicu­lous Aus­tralia’s po­lit­i­cal and me­dia classes have been with their knee­jerk re­sponses to the global Green-La­bor inspired hys­te­ria over the in­tensely dis­puted claims of global warm­ing.

His re­port fails at ev­ery level. The claims that are made in his name just don’t stand up, the mod­el­ling he re­lied on is as shoddy as the mod­el­ling used by such no­to­ri­ously in­ac­cu­rate fore­cast­ers as Tim Flan­nery, whose dis­grace­ful legacy is a raft of en­ergy-con­sum­ing de­sali­na­tion plants cost­ing tax­pay­ers hun­dreds of mil­lions.

The Finkel re­port foundered within a week of its launch when en­ergy com­pa­nies an­nounced im­me­di­ate power price in­creases in the or­der of 15-20 per cent. Ac­cord­ing to Dr Finkel’s re­port, his mod­el­ling showed that the cost of power would in­crease this year by about 3 per cent. It was hope­lessly wrong and that’s just the first of a mul­ti­tude of dis­as­trous er­rors.

The sec­ond is one of omis­sion. The re­port doesn’t ad­dress the enor­mous cost of en­ergy stor­age, bat­ter­ies, etc., es­sen­tial to the safe us­age of re­new­able en­ergy sources like wind and so­lar. This would run into the hun­dreds of mil­lions.

Dr Finkel also misses an­other ba­sic cost — the cost of build­ing and con­nect­ing the the­o­ret­i­cal 4000-5000 wind tur­bines and so­lar cells that his re­port calls for. The ex­pense of these ad­di­tional sources of en­ergy would run into the bil­lions. Again, there is no men­tion of cost in the re­port.

There is a fourth point that must sim­i­larly be made — and again, it’s not men­tioned in the Finkel re­port — is the hor­ren­dous cost of guar­an­tee­ing con­stant fre­quency, that is, a sta­ble fre­quency of the elec­tric­ity run­ning across the power grid.

Any­one who has had any ex­pe­ri­ence with us­ing elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tors would know how much the fre­quency can rise and fall as the load is in­creased or de­creased and that, when the fre­quency is er­ratic, equip­ment can and does fail. We’re not talk­ing about highly sen­si­tive equip­ment ei­ther. Most mod­ern white goods re­quire a sta­ble fre­quency de­liv­ery which so­lar and wind gen­er­a­tion just can­not pro­vide.

The Greens, La­bor and san­dal-wear­ing self-com­post­ing in­ner ur­ban ac­tivists won’t tell you but the grid is cur­rently (no pun in­tended) kept sta­ble be­cause huge spin­ning tur­bines powered by coal, gas and hy­dro are con­stantly at work pro­vid­ing the crit­i­cal base load power nec­es­sary to pre­vent your light bulbs from ex­plod- ing, your fridge from thaw­ing and your wash­ing ma­chine from com­ing to a shud­der­ing halt when­ever the wind stops blow­ing or the sun sets.

Those tur­bines help syn­chro­nise the in­put of the ir­reg­u­lar so­lar and wind en­ergy — and as so­lar and wind pro­vide more en­ergy, so the cost of ad­just­ing their con­tri­bu­tion to pro­vide the con­stant fre­quency nec­es­sary to op­er­ate the grid and stop it from blow­ing up in­creases.

Those tur­bines are like gi­ant fly­wheels.

They pro­vide the in­er­tia nec­es­sary to keep the power fre­quency pul­sat­ing within the fine tol­er­ances de­manded by elec­tri­cal equip­ment.

The whole de­bate about re­new­able en­ergy tar­gets (RET) is rot­ten. It is based on the pro­vi­sion of a trade­able cer­tifi­cate for ev­ery megawatt/hour of wind or so­lar power. With­out too much brain stress, if the av­er­age wind gen­er­a­tor pro­duces three megawatts per hour for which an av­er­age of $80 is paid and the tower is in op­er­a­tion an av­er­age of eight hours a day, the sum is 3x8x365x$80 which is s $700,800 per year.ear.

That’s right,ght each wind tower — be­fore it earns a dol­lar from the sale of elec­tric­ity — is tak­ing money from elec­tric­ity users and it’s be­cause of this not-so-hid­den sub­sidy that wind can com­pete with coal. A nice lit­tle earner. Where does the money go? Most goes off­shore, much of it to China.

That’s right, the coun­try that buys our cheap coal for its in­ex­pen­sive coal burn­ing power plants and man­u­fac­tures wind gen­er­a­tors and so­lar cells that will pro­vide ex­pen­sive en­ergy to us — en­ergy so costly that what re­mains of our in­dus­trial base will mi­grate to na­tions with cheap baseload, in­creas­ing un­em­ploy­ment, wel­fare and so­cial mis­ery. Re­mem­ber how the South Aus­tralian La­bor gov­ern­ment cheered when it blew up the power plant at Port Au­gusta — and re­call how SA lost its power be­cause the grid couldn’t cope with its re­new­able en­ergy?

The Vic­to­rian La­bor gov­ern­ment is as dumb, forc­ing the pre­ma­ture clo­sure of the Hazelwood coal-fired power plant ear­lier this year.

As the num­ber of ma­jor power con­sumers de­cline, the cost to av­er­age house­holds must in­crease merely to pay for the net­work up­keep.

Fed­eral Lib­eral MP Craig Kelly, whose elec­torate of Hughes in Syd­ney’s south­west, houses mid­dle and low-in­come vot­ers, is a leader of the grow­ing num­ber of Lib­er­als con­cerned at the ex­traor­diord or­di­nary lack of rigr rigour ap­par­ent in t the Finkel re­port. He has al­ready no­ticed that in­creas­ing num­bers of his con­stituents have turned to w wood fires this w win­ter as the soar­ing cost of elec­tric­ity makes con­ven­tional heaters pro­hib­i­tively ex­pen­sive.

In parts of Kelly’s elec­torate, pol­lu­tion lev­els from wood burn­ing al­ready ex­ceed World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion lev­els and there are warn­ings about the car­cino­genic na­ture of the soot be­ing pumped out. This is Third World stuff, ex­cept that coun­tries we used to think were Third World, like In­dia and China, are us­ing Aussie coal to keep them­selves warm and power their in­dus­tries.

How did we get so stupid?

pa­per In­cludesSun­day dig­i­tal de­liv­ery+full ac­cess.Seeon­line forde­tails. $10FOR 10WEEKS

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