Australian Politicians Confuse Wind Power And Powerful Winds

wind vs wind power

Which of our elected politicians can tell the difference? Read on to find out…

Yesterday all of South Australia was blacked out and parts of the state are still without grid power today. This occurred because a powerful storm damaged transmission lines and the entire state grid automatically shut down as a safety precaution to prevent more damage.

Restarting a grid after a complete shutdown is complex and requires several hours. And it took several hours for grid power to start to be restored.

There is no mystery to what happened. It is very simple:

1. There was a really big storm.
2. Transmission lines were damaged.
3. The grid shut down automatically as a safety precaution, like it should have.

If you don’t believe power lines were damaged by strong winds, here is a picture of high voltage, steel girder, transmission towers near Port Augusta.  The wind bent them over so their tops touch the ground.

This picture shows how unusual the situation was. Transmission towers do not normally lie down on the ground to take a rest.

In addition to gale force winds there were also so many lightning strikes they would have been countless if someone hadn’t counted them and tornadoes. As more detailed information is reported we will probably learn if it was lightning strikes, gale force winds, or a big willy willy that provided the straw that safety precautioned the camel’s back. [Read more…]

Canberra reshuffle: Mr Coal gets the job but is it all bad news?

josh frydenberg

Josh Frydenberg is in charge of energy. Should we be worried?

Like experienced card sharps waiting for the deal, all eyes were on the Canberra environment portfolio reshuffles last week. This following the near-disastrous election result for the Coalition where hopes were high that Malcolm 3.0 may have “got the message” on renewable policy. [Read more…]

Will Malcolm grow a pair on solar power policy?

malcolm 3.0

Will Malcolm 3.0 take on the anti-solar brigade in his party, like Malcolm 1.0 did?

Last week we touched on how the newly-elected Malcolm Turnbull could take on the anti-renewables wing of his party to implement sensible and far-reaching reforms. This week we look at whether Mal 3.0 has the stomach for the fight…and what this means for solar power policy in Australia. [Read more…]

Is renewable policy Turnbull’s road map back to the centre?

malcolm and a sun

Is Malcolm Turnbull More Worried About Climate Change Battering Australia Or Right Wingers Battering Him?

Eight days after the election, it looks like the LNP will be returned with a slender majority.  What does this bode for renewable policy in Australia? [Read more…]

Election 2016. Solar is safe only if Nick Xenophon’s Team supports it.

marcom turnbull and renewable energy

Turnbull’s submission to the right on issues such as renewable energy has not worked out so well for him.

Ah yes. Turnbull’s big gamble of calling a double dissolution election to regain control of policy looks like it’s failed. And failed miserably. Not only has the Coalition been stymied in its attempt to gain control of the Senate, it hasn’t yet been confirmed as having enough seats to govern in its own right in the Lower House.

For the solar industry this is most likely good news.  A Liberal controlled upper and lower house would almost certainly have resulted in another attempt to kill the Renewable Energy Target, and with it the solar rebate. That is unlikely to happen now. [Read more…]

Election 2016: renewables roundup week #7 – the Brexit Edition

brexit text on solar

Q. What does the Brexit mean for Australian Solar? A. Higher prices.

Well that was interesting wasn’t it folks? Just as the Australian election was drifting off into the sunset, we get hit by the arrival of an enormous, loud and dangerous elephant in the room. I’m talking of course of the surprise Brexit result where Brits voted to exit the European Union, a result that sent shock waves across the world.

Prime Minister Turnbull was quick to grace our screens (sans the hi-vis vest and hard hat this time) to assure us — in his most statesmanlike voice — that the vote would not affect Australia in any way. The fact that he looked like a kid hauled before the headmaster, with a trembling bottom lip and shaky “wasn’t me, wasn’t me” speech didn’t make him look that convincing though.

Next came Bouncing Billy Shorten, who will now see his chances of winning the election recede, also determined to tell us that his party’s policies are the best choice in these now choppy waters. [Read more…]

How Australia Ended Up With A Renewable Energy Target

John Howard and a ray of light

The Creator of The Renewable Energy Target. Mr John Howard.

Australia’s Renewable Energy Target, or RET, was first introduced in 2001 by Liberal PM John Howard. It has been almost entirely responsible for getting Australia’s graceful collection of wind turbines erected and getting solar panels on the roofs of 19% of our homes.

However, despite all its success, not many of us know very much about the RET.

This is understandable, as on the surface the topic is fairly dry. But once you get past that desiccated surface you soon discover what lies beneath is actually about as dry as crawling through the Simpson Desert without water for three days and then eating six plain SAO biscuits off a salt flat.

But don’t worry, I’m going to save you from having to experience that yourself. I recently filled in the gaps my knowledge of the RET and I’m ready to present you with all the juicy tidbits of information I gleaned from that dry and dusty landscape.

Feel free not to read on if you are already confident in your mastery of the topic. But before you do that, just be certain you can answer in the affirmative when I ask, do you get RET yet? [Read more…]

Election 2016 — renewables roundup week #5

wind turbines in a field

Why does Nick Xenophon hate wind so much?

A bit of housekeeping before we launch into the Election 2016 renewables roundup for week #5. Last week we touched on the growing interest in the independents and — in particular — the rise and rise of the Nick Xenophon Party, especially in the senator’s home state of South Australia. [Read more…]

Election 2016 — Renewables roundup Week #4

As Election 2016 reaches the halfway point, it’s time to consider a few possibilities in our weekly election renewables roundup. With the polls tightening even further, what chance is there of another hung parliament? More importantly, what does that mean for renewables such as solar energy development in Australia over the next three years?


The spectre of a hung parliament raised its head in Week#4.

[Read more…]

Election renewables roundup Week #3

pollution from coal power station

As the polling gap closes, climate and renewables are conspicuously absent from the mainstream debate.

Our election renewables roundup for week 3 sees the polling gap between the two major parties to be the width of a cigarette paper with Bouncing Billy Shorten closing the preferred prime minister margin.

The closeness of the campaign shows a single issue cuts across party and demographic lines, is popular amongst the majority of voters and may be the difference between winning, losing or a hung parliament. [Read more…]