Tasmania’s Energy Scandal

Tasmania has provided yet another example of what happens when you let the lunatics run the asylum for too long. This time, it has run out of electricity to the point of needing 200 temporary diesel generators – at a start up cost of $44 million, plus operating costs of $22 million per month.

As you’ll soon see, these costs are merely the steam emanating from the hot pile of dung shoveled up in this scandal – whose key players include a greedy government owned hydroelectric operator, an inept State government and Australia’s most socialistic Prime Minister in history.

Even if you’re not Tasmanian, you should care about this: it’s your money that’s paying for it.

Act I: the table is set

Before nestling into dirty diesel’s comforting embrace, Tasmania prided itself on generating almost 100% of its power from ‘renewable energy’ – with over two-thirds coming from hydroelectricity.

We could stop here and just about have explained things (eggs, one basket and so forth). However, it is only on completion of the remaining four acts of this Tasmanian tragedy that we can fully appreciate the true nature of the scandal.

Act II: 2005 – Basslink commissioned as a single cable

Since 2005, there’s been a cable that runs from Tasmania to Victoria called ‘Basslink’. Its purpose was to ‘drought-proof’ Tasmania by allowing it to import and export energy to the mainland as needed.

Basslink is a single cable. If there’s a fault somewhere along the cable, the whole things falls over (no, I’m not joking).

Basslink Flows

The above table shows the energy going in and out of Tasmania via Basslink since it was built. It doesn’t take long to see that something strange was going on between 2012 and 2014 – but that’s not the whole story:

  • Until 2010-11, Tasmania was overwhelmingly a net Basslink importer.
  • During 2010-11 and 2011-12, Tasmania dramatically increased its exports to the point of equalling its imports (seemingly as if it were preparing for something big).
  • In 2012-13, Tasmania’s Basslink’s imports suddenly plummeted to 2.6% of its energy consumption (see page 130 of the link).
  • By 2013-14, Tasmania was importing practically nothing via Basslink – with a truckload of energy going the other way.

If you’re wondering what the hell was going on, you need only go back to August 2010.

Act III: 2010 – Julia Gillard and the carbon tax

In August 2010, Australia provided Julia Gillard with the means to introduce a carbon tax – which she cheerfully did. Among many other things, Gillard’s scheme made hydroelectricity artificially more price competitive in the energy market. In turn, Tasmania’s government owned hydroelectricity operator (Hydro Tasmania) became positively giddy with excitement… and greed:

Hydro-tasmania-storage-graph-2010-2016
The green area shows the the carbon tax period. The red shows the period in which Basslink has been out of service (ongoing).

As you can see, Hydro Tasmania was delighted to flick the Basslink switch and recklessly plough through more than half of its stored energy supply (i.e. stored water) during the carbon tax period:

The figures show that Tasmanian hydro generators have been selling electricity into the mainland market at unprecedented rates, drawing down storage levels dramatically since the carbon price was implemented in July 2012.

In the midst of its carbon tax induced hydro fire sale, a couple of basic principles became completely lost on Hydro Tasmania:

  • Hydroelectricity relies on a nuisance called gravity – it is only ‘renewable’ to the extent that rainfall can re-fill the power plant’s dam.
  • If you operate a hydroelectricity plant and you flog off all your stored water much faster than the rain can re-fill your dam, you’re going to have a bad time.

Incredibly, Hydro Tasmania’s involvement in this debacle did not end there.

Act IV: 2009-14 – Tamar Valley gas power station commissioned, micturated on, shut down, put up for sale… then recommissioned (*)

* (Yes, all these things really happened in under 5 years).

On being commissioned in September 2009 (as a replacement for the Bell Bay gas station), the Tamar Valley gas station provided about 10% of Tasmania’s energy. However, since then, it has been treated like a TV Guide:

  • In 2013, it was put in the hands of Hydro Tasmania (for absolutely nothing). This gave Hydro Tasmania almost complete control over the entire Tasmanian energy market.
  • On receiving the Tamar Valley station, Hydro Tasmania immediately cannibalised its book value down to zero and commenced decommissioning it in June 2014. This was despite the fact that it had been functioning for less than five years and represented a major form of energy insurance.

(Let’s keep that last date in mind – August 2015).

The decision to sell the Tamar Valley gas station’s major operating component in August 2015 was made despite the fact that:

  • Hydro Tasmania had already savaged the State’s stored hydro energy supply to less than 30% (with summer coming around the corner).

Not to worry, it’s not like the Tamar Valley gas station cost around a quarter of a billion dollars to build and was still in brand new condition or anything. Oh, wait a minute…

(*%&#).

Act V – completing the catastrophe

Following the 2013 Federal election, the carbon tax was removed. This eradicated the artificial price signal on energy and mercifully saved Hydro Tasmania from its own suicidal behaviour. To recap:

  • From 2012 to 2014, Hydro Tasmania had been a busy little bee, flogging off as much hydroelectricity as it could. It was also closing down and trying to sell the Tamar Valley gas station’s major parts. This was all done for the sole purpose of making Hydro Tasmania’s balance sheet look good – and it only came at the expense of the public interest.
  • By November 2015, Hydro Tasmania had completely dwindled its stored hydro energy to the point where Basslink was providing 40% of Tasmania’s energy needs (NB: this represents the full import capacity of Basslink). Or, put another way, about a third of Tasmania’s energy was now coming from those dirty, dirty Victorian coal power plants.

If the carbon tax hadn’t been removed, how much lower would Hydro Tasmania have allowed its stored energy to fall to before it stopped?

In any event, the damage had already been done. All that was needed now was a trigger and some fallout:

  • Unfortunately, due to Hydro Tasmania’s above decisions, Tasmania hasn’t been able to:
    • rely on its stored hydro supplies – because they are currently sitting at at less than 15% of overall capacity; or
    • its backup gas power to the extent it should – because, funnily enough, the Tamar Valley power station has a really tough time generating electricity while it’s in a mothballed state and its combined-cycle unit is up for sale.
  • By late December 2015, Tasmania decided to recommission the Tamar Valley gas plant – less than 4 months after the decision to sell its combined-cycle unit (yes, really). Not to worry, I’m sure they’ll re-decommission it as soon as possible so that Tasmanians can all feel clean again.
  • And then there’s the diesel…

When you add it all up, Tasmania is now laughably and hopelessly reliant on the dirtiest forms of fossil fuel for its survival. Insane amounts of money have been squandered.

Cue the climate change brigade

Predictably, some are blaming this disaster on human induced global warming (because of some short term dry weather).

To anyone who has properly considered this matter, it’s obvious that neither carbon dioxide nor ‘climate change’ have had anything to do with this. ‘Political buggery’ are two much more fitting words to accurately describe the cause of what happened.

For the record, Tasmania is not immune to drought and dry conditions (see 1888, 1967 and 2008 for example). The problem is that the last couple of times Tasmania had dry spells, it had cheap and reliable forms of backup power to reduce the energy stress. This time it does not.

Get out your wallet

Tasmania is not self-sufficient economically. It relies on taxpayer funds which far exceed its contribution to Australia’s GDP ($48K per capita against the national average of $66K). The latest national GST distribution drives this point home:

In its latest decision the Commonwealth Grants Commission (which determines the breakdown of the GST) has decided that Western Australia should get just 29.99 cents in the dollar of revenue.

This is the lowest share ever by any state by a long way.

New South Wales receives 97.7 cents in the dollar and Victoria just 89.3 cents. The rest of the states all receive more than the share they would receive on a pure per-capita basis. Queensland gets $1.12, South Australia $1.36, Tasmania $1.82.

This means that, for every dollar wasted on this fiasco, non-Tasmanians have to come to the party in a big way.

When all is said and done, the cost of the 200 temporary diesel generators alone could come close to (or exceed) what it cost to build the Tamar Valley gas plant. It all depends on when Basslink can be fixed. Using the figures at the very top of this article, the diesel bill will sail over $100 million if Basslink isn’t functioning within three months – which is almost half the Tamar Valley build cost of $230 million. Just stop and think about that for a minute.

On top of this, there’ll also be the cost of building a second Basslink cable (which should have been done in the first place) and re-commissioning the Tamar Valley gas plant and then doing goodness knows what to it after that. There will also be many more consequential costs on top of this (e.g. millions on government inquiries, ‘re-structuring’ and the like).

One thing is for sure, the short term money that Hydro Tasmania made between 2012 and 2014 will be completely and utterly dwarfed by the cost of this mess.

For the final insult, go back to the top of this article, look at the feature image again and wallow in the hilarious irony. Just make sure you have your preferred sedative ready.

 


Note: since publication, this article has been amended to reflect the fact that, try as it might, Hydro Tasmania couldn’t quite sell the Tamar Valley gas station’s combined-cycle unit. 

(With grateful thanks to reader karabar).

 

63 thoughts on “Tasmania’s Energy Scandal”

  1. When the usual suspects here lecturing us about the dangers of $CAGW$ start admitting the problems with the hypothesis..start admitting the fraud and vanished billions and get off the grid and sell their cars..then others will listen..until then..leep marching comrades..

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  2. A lot of this is very interesting and thought provoking. “Climate change” is an effective slogan for politics, business and attracting a following. But it has been the case for a long time that coal fired power generation was too polluting and we needed alternatives. While I am open to the idea that this pollution has significant effects which we need to eliminate or reduce, I am skeptical that this can be done anytime soon or that what is done in Tasmania, or indeed Australia, will make a significant difference. Among all those who seem to arguing armegeddon if we don’t act immediately, I would like to know why we allowed governments to sell power stations in the first place and the distinct lack of interest now in buying them back and closing them down. So just why did we think it was a good idea to be importing coal fired power from brown coal no less, and who thought so.

    Secondly what happened to the idea of sustainability? Installing Bass link was completely counter to being sustainable in energy; a second cable will ensure that such a policy will never have legs.

    And thirdly, this folly was compounded by making energy production a source of government revenue. When and how did this happen. Once our energy supply became a means of boosting tax revenue, it was inevitable that selling power for profit would become an all consuming goal; this is not Hydro’s fault.

    And then we became part of a national grid, probably locking in the affore mentioned follies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your insightful comments Brian. I still think Hydro needs to take a decent chunk of the blame (certainly not all of it of course). While it didn’t put the carbon tax carrot there, it was more than happy to chomp away at it greedily to the public’s detriment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A second Basslink will merely maintain the folly. The first goal should sustainability. Can we find a way to get excess flood waters to help fill Great Lake?

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  3. The state government sided with the federal government to vote out the carbon tax,in return the state was given carbon credits.To increase their carbon credits the government released around %50 of water in all dams.So with the lower than usual rainfall and the exporting of power to the mainland we see our selves in this situation (critical) And just to advise the Bass link cable looses around %27 through leakage,power us Tasmanians could use.

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  4. Interesting (sadly) how a scientific debate, sceptics included, derails into political scapegoating and finger pointing. I might not agree with you on what you label ‘science’ in your understanding karabar, your generalised statements on climate change sience, but your input is definitely better value than the last few rants, that the author might as well delete if he had only refrained from the labelling throwaway lines himself. Shame indeed!

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  5. Not to mention that they made redundant around 15 workers at the gas fired power plant at a cost of $750000 then rehired them 3 weeks later to put it back together

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the extra information Brian. The hidden costs in this saga are off the charts. When all is said and done, I wouldn’t be surprised if more than $1 billion ended up down the toilet.

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  6. Marcus
    Energy does not come in colours. There is no such thing as “green” energy.
    By the same token “clean” energy exists only in a Green’s fantasy land.
    If the objective is energy with the least environmental impact, nothing is competitive with modern coal fired facilities such as are being built now in China, Japan, India, and Germany.
    Here is the straight goods on the farce of “solar power”: http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/analysis/residential-solar-myth-vs-fact/
    The green dream of harnessing the wind is actually a nightmare. http://www.slideshare.net/michellestirling71
    It is a very expensive nightmare, and an absolute disaster for the environment.

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    1. Hi Karabar,

      Just wondering, that link you’ve got, is that the same Institute for Energy Research set up by oil billionaire Charles Koch?

      And is that Michelle Stirling from Friends of Science which is partially funded by oil and gas interests?

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      1. Two can play at that game Warren.
        Just wondering, is that Greenpeace and WWF contributing to the IPCC reports and summaries? Is that the Environmental Defense Fund supplying ‘peer reviewed’ papers to journals? Are they, almost to a man, raving looney greenies populating anything and everything to do with the environment? Is that these rent seekers pushing for renewables? Is that George Soros funding many many environmental activists? Is that global merchant banks pushing for carbon trading schemes that will make them billions in profits? etc etc etc

        Get a clue fool. You’re just a shill.

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  7. A short note on climate change. What is different now to last century is not so much reduced rainfall as increased evaporation. This is especially in the cooler months when Hydro normally receive maximum flows into its storages. The soil dryness phenomenon means that significantly more frontal rain is absorbed into soils and then evaporated, and this results in significantly lower inflows. I am advised by a meteorologist that about 60 percent of the inflow problem is ascribed to temperatures, 40 percent to rainfall.

    In times when rainfall is also low – as in this Summer – Hydro Tas thus suffers a double whammy.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. This is what happens when you have people in charge who have absolutely no idea what they are talking about,making irresponsible decisions with no consequences ,parliament has more than its share of ex school teachers,lawyers and people who have absolutely no idea of industry and its workings,this article really makes me mad 😤

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  9. It looks a if mismanagement, greed and stupidity are the cause here, and it’s providing an excuse for “green bashing”.

    Guys, the science is in. Global warming / climate change is really happening, and it will cause massive problems for our kids, their kids, and so on for centuries. Think sea level rise, droughts, floods, food shortages, water shortages, mass migration from areas that are no longer livable because of sea level rise and lack of water.

    We have a very short window of time to get emissions under control. Once feedback mechanisms kick in we’ll have runaway climate change that is irreversible.

    Try looking at credible scientific organization websites for info, and don’t rely on the Murdoch press or vested interests.

    Unfortunately, all of us commenting on this site be dead (of old age) before the worst of the effects kick in, otherwise we might have the incentive to do something about it.

    When out kids and grandkids are our age though, they’ll have to deal with the mess we leave behind.

    Don’t let problems caused by mismanagement be an excuse for causing even bigger problems further down the track.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Global warming” is a delusional fantasy similar to Mother Goose and the Brothers Grimm. I don’t take anyone’s word for it. All that is necessary is to look at the data. The temperature trend for the past 8,000 years has been a light decline.

      “Climate” is a regional parameter. The globe does not and cannot possess a “climate”. In order to determine whether or not a parameter has changed it is necessary to establish a metric. The metric for climate is a classification. The classification is determined by many considerations such as temperature, wind speeds, precipitation, seasonal variation, and more. Such matters are of necessity establish over a period from 30 to 60 years. For instance, the climate of Tasmania is a Koppen-Geiger classification cwa. It has been thus since the classification was established. Climate varies over thousands of years. There is a term for short term variations in these parameters. It is called “weather”.

      “Climate change” in the vernacular, is a nonsensical, meaningless term dreamt up because a quarter century pause made the term “global warming” appear as ridiculous as it is in fact.

      Should you wish to educate yourself, take a couple of hours and focus:

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll stick with mainstream science, and mainstream scientific organizations. Have you been checking the news lately?
        Record breaking heat year on year.

        If mainstream scientists are wrong, and we clean up our emissions for nothing, we still have a livable and less polluted planet at the end.

        If the few who say mainstream science is wrong are wrong, our kids and their kids are in an awful mess.

        it’s too big a risk to do nothing.

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        1. Is that “hottest month” propaganda of any significance to you? Science is not a deity, and it is not an authority. There is no such thing as “The Science”. Science is a process for determining the Truth using reason and logic. If you were to watch either or both of those URL’s I suggested, you might understand what the scientific method is in reality. To quote Richard Feynman “Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts”. In case that doesn’t ring any bells, Feynman is generally considered the greates physicist since Einstein.

          Liked by 2 people

      2. Plot line: A plucky group of billionaires try to save humanity from an evil conspiratorial cabal of scientists – lol

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      3. Karabar, as you are so opposed to science – I suggest you stop using any technology, especially your computer and internet. I also recommend you never seek the service of doctors, nurses and surgeons. You should also stop using your car and any technology ever invented by scientists. Howeve,r I doubt you are a man of your word. I doubt you will follow through on your assertion that ” “Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts”. You really need to follow through on your convictions Karabar – ignore the science. There is a real easy way for you to test how bogus science is – why don’t you try jumping from a great height? As no doubt, you don’t believe in gravity. It would be an easy way for you to prove how bogus science is. lol

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      1. Incredible, isn’t it?
        A first grader can understand the basics of cause and effect.
        If a change in A causes a change in B, then a change in A will result in a corresponding change in B.
        If a change in A causes a change in B, then the change in A must of necessity precede the change in B.
        Given that atmospheric CO2 increased from 280 ppm to 400+ ppm with no change in temperature, and geology and ice cores that tell us that a change in CO2 has always lagged a change in temperature, how can you explain that there are actually people that adhere to the fantasy that CO2 is the cause of temperature changes?

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      2. karabar you are a moron of epic proportions who has never taken a university maths course if you think your first grader math example explains cause and effect in the real world. The system you have described is a linear system with no time delay taken into account. THE REAL WORLD IS GENERALLY NOT LINEAR!!! Biological/climatic systems are npot a simple this causes that immediately system, they are dynamic and comprised of linked variables(i.e CO2 and methane data) and stochastic variables(random events we cant predict and can mathematically PROVE we cant predict since Im betting you want to argue that point with me). 97% of specialists in climate science agrees that climate change is real and can be shown using experimental method and math that is way beyond most peoples comprehension. Just because you dont comprehend it doesnt mean it is automatically wrong and even more importantly it doesnt mean you should preach your bullshit to everyone else!

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      3. Dear Person With an Actual Degree – I have allowed your comment in this instance as you appear to have gone to some effort to write it and I want to allow continued debate. However, in future, I would be very grateful if you could please refrain from abusing fellow readers.

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      4. It was only this morning that I wrote to Senator Birmingham requesting evidence of any positive benefit realised by the nation for the $69.4 billion that he spends on public education.
        If the statement “actual degree in electrical engineering and applied mathematics from utas” is indeed a representative sample, then one can only conclude that the entire fortune is entirely wasted.

        The author is obviously completely unaware that “consensus” is meaningless in the realm of science. Referring to the idiotic “97%” meme, he only reveals that he has fewer clues than Obama. It does not take any applied mathematics to understand that it is a complete and utter sham. People should have more sense than to accept such garbage without at least investigating it origins.

        There is no need to lecture me that Earth’s weather system s are chaotic and non-linear. That is precisely the reason that the so-called “climate models” are utter nonsense. That is the reason that the entire subject of climate astrology is a tragic failure which wastes a billion dollars a day. Imagine what the species could accomplish were it not for the assinine global warming religion.

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        1. You have made so many unbelievable grasps with your statement it astounds me. For a start “It was only this morning that I wrote to Senator Birmingham requesting evidence of any positive benefit realised by the nation for the $69.4 billion that he spends on public education.
          If the statement “actual degree in electrical engineering and applied mathematics from utas” is indeed a representative sample, then one can only conclude that the entire fortune is entirely wasted.” – you simply cannot make any statistically valid assumption about the value of ublic education based on one individual. You also after reading one paragraph of my response make an assumption that Im an imbicile(or atleast not deserving of the value of a public education), I entered university with marks in the top 3% of students in Australia. Contrary to your belief I am the only FEMALE electrical engineering graduate from my year group at UTAS, yes you read correctly I am FEMALE contrary to another of your assumptions.

          Now we can get to the crux of how you demonstrate your complete lack of knowledge of RELEVANT CONCEPTS in modeling and climate science. I described Biological systems as the combination of non-linear, time delayed relationships and stochastic (random and unpredictable events). You stated the following which anyone with the ability to understand the first google response would be able to see is incorrect-“There is no need to lecture me that Earth’s weather system s are chaotic and non-linear”. Chaotic(refering to chaos) is not the same as STOCHASTIC!!!! Stochastic systems are atleast stable when you look at the stability function while chaotic systems are unstable by definition. If climate systems were defined by chaotic principles then we would be living on a climate similar to Venus.

          In stead of argueing and preaching your belief that science doesnt work and explain what you perceive to be the truth why dont you actually attend some tertiary units and see if you can cut it actually being challenged scientifically to defend your views without attacking the validity of the person and their education whom you are debating with.

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          1. If you deny that Earth’s weather systems are CHAOTIC NON-LINEAR, then I suggest you immediately contact the IPCC, and tell them that their assessment is fatally flawed. (Be sure to tell the lead author wof Working Group I that becasue you are a female electrical engineer, still wet behind the ears from UTAS, he had better listen and listen well.

            https://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/504.htm
            WGI: The scientific basis.
            14.2.2 Predictability in a Chaotic System
            “The climate system is particularly challenging since it is known that components in the system are inherently chaotic; there are feedbacks that could potentially switch sign, and there are central processes that affect the system in a complicated, non-linear manner. These complex, chaotic, non-linear dynamics are an inherent aspect of the climate system.”

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      5. You are correct Karabar, science is not a deity or a religion. Unfortunately for you, it works on consensus. I suggest that if you do not believe that climate change is real is that you prove it! Become a climate scientist and prove your alternate THEORY. If you manage this, your scientific paper disproving climate change will be peer reviewed. If the methods and data can be replicated then people may start to accept you hypothesis.
        P.S. I have been a climate scientists for over a decade. I have studied geology and glaciation. I have looked at long-term climate trends. Personally, I believe the current science on climate change – nor am I dependent on climate change funding!

        Personally, I prefer to accept the work of scientists over skeptic’s. Skeptic’s usually have an ulterior motive – they benefit from the status quo – they are driven by selfish, egocentric desires. Many skeptics are driven by fear, a fear of the unknown, a fear of what they do not understand. I have no qualms with people challenging science, but I do wish they would think critically, be aware of their own cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance and conformation bias.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Hi Fool. Thank you for coming along and adding some spice to this site. I’m not a scientist, but in my view science should have nothing to do with consensus. It should be a relentless pursuit of the truth. Consensus simply leads to views such as the world being flat and situations like the one in this article – where the most left leaning ‘green’ state in Australia is currently relying on the dirtiest forms of energy and has dropped even more money it cannot afford.

        I long for the day where we can economically harness the sun for all of our energy needs. However, today is not that day based on our current technological status. Using taxpayer funded renewable energy incentives based on the ‘carbon dioxide’ boogeyman only slows down our progress in this respect.

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      7. MP, I would expect that a relentless pursuit of the truth leads to consensus, particularly in science.

        There is consensus that the earth is not flat, that the earth circles the sun, that smoking is bad for your health etc.

        At one stage these would all have been hypothesis, relentlessly pursued by scientists until they were generally accepted.

        The fact that after study for decades by thousands of scientists in a lot of different disciplines anthropogenic climate change is accepted by 97% of scientists shows that it is very likely to be true. If a scientist reasonably thought he could prove it was false, he would be showered with money from fossil fuel interests so that he could set about proving it.

        I would challenge the likes of karabar to write his scientific paper and have it published in peer reviewed scientific literature.to show the other scientists exactly where they are going wrong. He would be hailed as a saviour.of life as we know it.

        Of course, I’m sure karabar will prove that peer reviewed papers are actually part of the conspiracy that is trying to destroy the fossil fuel industry.and set up a global government.

        I would like to know how a conspiracy involving tens of thousands of scientists and every major scientific organisation in the world actually works. Or is it just that our scientists are pig ignorant, in which case I’d be very worried next time I need medical help or fly in a plane.

        BTW, from Exxon Mobil “The risk of climate change is clear and the risk warrants action. Increasing carbon emissions in the atmosphere are having a warming effect”
        http://www.shell.com/sustainability/environment/climate-change.html

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  10. Hi Marcus
    In addition to Karabar’s comment, it’s worth noting that there’s a 220MW turbine sitting on the wharf right now, owned (I assume) by Korda-Mentha as part of the Gunns collapse. There’s plenty of gas capacity there, and sufficient sites for the correct HRSG(s) to go in.

    Of course if the Greens/Le Strange hadn’t killed the TVPM it’d be running right now and putting 100MW continuous to the grid from a truly renewable soure.

    The Greens are denying all responsibility for their involvement in the decision to export power beyond parity, claiming innocence as it was “not a whole of government decision”.

    There absolutely should not be a second cable. There shouldn’t be the first one, for the same reason as wind and solar renewables beyond the capacity of base load to support are not a working proposition (I suspect Karabar can explain supply ratios far better than I).

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    1. Gas is renewable? lol I have heard nearly everything from the non-scientists climate skeptics now!
      Politics 101 – the Greens do not hold the balance of power. They cannot force legislation through without the support of another party.
      Wind and solar cannot support baseload – sorry but you are very wrong – there are at least 3 ways that renewable energy can be converted into baseload supply! Might be time to do some learning?

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      1. Fool 2242 declares that he or she is a “scientist”, but reveals an astounding lack of understanding in just one short passage.
        a) Fool does not seem to know of Richard Feynman, arguably one the best physicists of the twentieth century.
        b) Fool mocks a Feynman quote, apparently oblivious to its being a re-statement of the logical fallacy “argumentum ad verecundiam”
        c) Fool bases his diatribe on the logical fallacy “argumentum ad populum”, illustrating complete ignorance of the 97% hoax at the same time.
        d) Fool reveals his ignorance of the scientific method. The first step is to test the null hypothesis. None other than James Hansen verified the null hypothesis, albeit inadvertently, in 1988. Once an hypothesis is proposed, it is the task of the proponent to test it relative to observations. In this case, there is not one skerrick of evidence that supports the notion that atmospheric CO2 hypothetically affects the weather.
        e) Fool does not recognise that to be a scientist is to be sceptical.
        When I earned my first science degree forty eight years ago, scientists were people of integrity. In the 21st century, those in the business of climate astrology are, as is aptly illustrated in Mark Steyn’s book, “a disgrace to the profession”.

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      2. warrennewson states:

        “MP, I would expect that a relentless pursuit of the truth leads to consensus, particularly in science.
        There is consensus that the earth is not flat, that the earth circles the sun, that smoking is bad for your health etc.
        At one stage these would all have been hypothesis, relentlessly pursued by scientists until they were generally accepted.
        The fact that after study for decades by thousands of scientists in a lot of different disciplines anthropogenic climate change is accepted by 97% of scientists shows that it is very likely to be true. If a scientist reasonably thought he could prove it was false, he would be showered with money from fossil fuel interests so that he could set about proving it……”

        I disagree.

        Consensus alone is NOT enough. It’ is totally wrong to compare science that The earth is not flat with the “science” that climate change is real. The former is proven. We flew to the moon and actually saw it. The latter is not. Certainly not beyond reasonable doubt. I personally consider it just one other money grabbing fraud initiated by the Left.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Peter,

        How do you explain the consensus? Is it a conspiracy, stupidity, groupthink or incompetence? And of course groupthink would have to involve incompetence.

        And why is consensus bad in climate science, but good in other types of science, eg medicine, astronomy, computing etc, pretty well everything to do with 21st century living?

        I realize consensus alone doesn’t prove anything, but when the consensus is based on rigorous scientific study conducted by thousands of scientists, and it’s endorsed by every major scientific organization in the world, and when even some oil companies agree there’s a problem, surely we need to take notice of it.

        And while I’m not up on risk management, surely that level of confidence, and the possible consequences is good reason to take action?

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        1. In my view, the 97% consensus figure is highly dubious and, at the very least, considerably out of date. It would be very interesting to do a fresh survey on this. That said, no consensus can supplant the truth. Either man-generated CO2 causes global warming – or it does not. So far, there is nowhere near enough evidence to prove this to the point where we can say outlandish things such as ‘the science is settled’. I fully support continued research, but I will never support government intervention (e.g. such as outlined in this article) which causes significant money to be wasted and struggling people’s lifestyles being further pushed below the poverty line. The number of elderly and fragile people who cannot afford to turn the air-conditioning or heating on these days is truly heartbreaking.

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      4. warrennewson says:

        “How do you explain the consensus? Is it a conspiracy, stupidity, groupthink or incompetence? And of course groupthink would have to involve incompetence.

        And why is consensus bad in climate science, but good in other types of science, eg medicine, astronomy, computing etc, pretty well everything to do with 21st century living?…..”

        Why on earth would I have to explain “the consensus”?
        Consensus has nothing to do with science. It is nothing but an excuse for ignorance. To use your own example: There was consensus that the earth was flat! Was it flat ? Consensus between three monkeys that the third Banana from the left should taste the best is quite convincing, considering that monkeys know their bananas, but not proven and certainly not conclusive science.

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        1. Peter, the problem seems to be that few people understand what science is.

          From the time of Ibn Al Haythem a thousand years ago, the scientific method has been the “seeker of Truth”.
          Science does not “prove” things. There is not such a thing as “scientific proof”. The scientific method on the other hand DIPROVES faulty hypothesis.

          In this video Richard Feynmen defines the scientific method at Cal-Tech. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kctmPaCkV0g

          Someone proposed an hypothesis that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can affect Earth’s surface temperatures. The null hypothesis is that minor variations in atmospheric temperatures are natural. None other that James Hansen verified the null hypothesis, albeit inadvertently. In 1988 he put forward an array of models based on various scenarios with different restrictions on CO2 emissions. In one scenario he modelled the situation in which nothing is done to restrict emissions. That is the ONLY model which is even close to reality over the last quarter century.

          Guy Stewart Callendar essentially disproved the hypothesis in 1924 through empirical observations. There is no evidence whatsoever that supports this erroneous hypothesis. After thirty years and trillions of dollars, there is no empirical evidence to suggest that the hypothesis has merit.

          “It doesn’t make any difference how beautiful your guess is, it doesn’t make any difference how smart you are, who made the guess, or what his name is. If it disagrees with experiment, it’s WRONG. That’s all there is to it.” Richard P. Feynman

          “Science” by consensus is politics. “Science” by belief is religion. “Science” by programmers code is computer gaming. “Science” by story-telling is science fiction. Etc. On the other hand, Science by logic, transparent evidence and empirical proof IS science.” Dr. Gordon Fulks

          There have been many times in history when there was a scientific ”consensus” that was nonsense.

          Phlogiston:
          The phlogiston theory is a superseded scientific theory that postulated that a fire-like element called phlogiston is contained within combustible bodies and released during combustion.

          Phrenology:
          In the late nineteenth century the “consensus” was that the shape of an individual’s skull determined their behaviour. Ned Kelly’s corpse was beheaded specifically in order to study the shape of his skull.
          Theory of Relativity:
          Hitler declared that he had a hundred scientists that disagreed with Einstein. Albert said simply “Why a hundred?. It would take only one to disprove my hypothesis. It still has not been disproved.

          Lysenkoism:
          Lysenkoism was a political campaign against genetics and science-based agriculture conducted by Trofim Lysenko, his followers and Soviet authorities broadly supported by a consensus.
          Plate tectonics:
          It is within memory of people living today that geologists were taught that the surface of the planet is stationary and not dynamic. The discovery of plate tectonics challenged tthat consensus in very recent history.

          Stomach ulcers caused by stress:
          This was the scientific “consensus” until only a couple of decades ago when Dr. Barry Marshal, an Australian, successfully challenged that consensus by demonstrating that it is actually the result of Helicobacter bacteria.

          Science is a process which seeks the Truth continuously, and additional knowledge is added in layers. That is why there is no “scientific proof”. That is why a consensus is nonsense.

          Furthermore, so far as global warming is concerned there is not now and never was a “consensus”. The illusion is nothing but a hoax created by the cartoonist John Cook.

          Fool charges that I “don’t like science”. I LOVE science. That is why I find the deceit, the corruption, and the charlatans of climate astrology so distasteful.

          This endless repetition that coal is dirty has to stop. It is wrong. Modern power stations are super clean. No acid rain, no particulate matter, no sulphur, very environmentally friendly. The ‘smoke’ is always just steam.
          Really, if you ignore the ridiculous idea that CO2 is pollution, the stuff we and plants breathe out, the very stuff from which all life on earth is made, modern coal is very clean. It replaced the poor and incomplete combustion in domestic fires of wood and coke and coal and brown coal and peat. People used to burn everything in winter especially in the cities and the mess was massive, especially in Europe. The devastation was widespread and the cities were filthy places. The devastation in the country was also massive. For making steel, the forests of Finland vanished to the point where no tree is over 200 years old. All saved by clean coal, clean factories and the clean air acts.

          It is hard to imagine the London of the 1850s with at times 3,000 deaths from cholera a week, dirty smog, no sewerage, no running water and the sewers with 200 outlets straight into the Thames from where they pumped the drinking water. Limed sheets were hung in Parliament to mask the smell. Carbon filled the air and the fog. Fixing the sewage changed life, as did clean power. Melbourne retrofitted sewerage into the inner city in the 1880s. Pumping stations were built and sewerage plants. All required power. Prior to that there were thousands of cases of cholera at once even in suburban Caulfield. Now people talk about clean energy. They have no idea, living in a clean world which many of the people of the world cannot imagine.

          We have ultra clean cities, ultra clean energy. Only nut cases want to go back to living in medieval times with wood fires and pits and dirt. Our world is clean and food is more plentiful than ever and massive infant and maternal mortality of 30% is a thing of Victorian times. Yet people yearn for clean energy and a clean environment when they already have it. Try Madras or Cairo, relatively modern cities which are disasters. Only spoiled westerners can complain about ‘clean’.
          Give me cheap and reliable and clean coal power any day.

          David asks the question “Why do discussions about the climate become political?” The answer is quite simple. There is no “science” in it. It is 100% politics.

          Greens are not cute. They are dangerous to life on this planet. Their solar panels and windmills are just nutty but the real damage is stopping real progress on alternative energy beyond their shaman gods of sun, wind and water. It is a druidic cult led and fed by communist political opportunists (tautology) like Adam Bandt whose unpublished PhD is on communism.

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      5. The TVPM would have burnt black liquor produced from the kraft digestion process. The supply stock for that process was slated to be from plantation stock only.

        The plant design was that it could soak or source the grid to the tune of 80MW in, to 120MW out.

        Using the generator on gas is a simple way to get it in process now (well in 6 months or so), but the original TVPM plant would have been a superior base load generator for years now.

        You presume too much.

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      6. The Greens held the balance of power; hence “Power sharing government”. They may not have held the energy portfolio, but the did hold a trump card to prevent the export position during the carbon credit period. Senator McKim freely admits this, but stops speaking the moment he is called out on the issue of political expediency.

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  11. Thanks for the extra information karabar – it’s really useful to know. Suffice to say, I’ve been on a steep learning curve since finding out about the diesel generators three days ago! The amount of mismanagement and wastage, just in the scenario you have outlined alone, is already beyond belief.

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    1. With a fifty year career in maintenance management, I tend to try to drill down to root cause when the shit hits the fan.
      More than anything else the current situation, as well as previous bouts of low storage, is one of the pitfalls of reliance on “renewables” which are not reliable. Certainly Hydro is far more reliable than the other renewables, but in the end is subject to the same drawback.
      I am therefore puzzled to hear people suggest that the solution to this ‘problem ‘ is more renewables.
      I find it ironic that it was none other than Bob Brown, in arguing against the Franklin Dam on the Gordon, maintained that a better solution to another dam was a coal-fired power station in Fingal. Coal is the resource which produced our prosperity, and it still does. It is still the most reliable and inexpensive means by which to produce electricity.
      Had Premier Lowe and Prime Minister Hawke had taken this advice, the Apple Isle would have been assured of the inexpensive power necessary for dynamic industrial and economic progress.
      This was at a time, of course when all the world was in awe of a coming Ice Age. The myth of ‘global warming’ had not yet been invented. People then did not conflate ‘climate’ which is regional, with temperature.
      Thus it is pointless to point fingers at Hydro Tasmania and the government of the day. If anything, the current dilemma underscores the lunacy in government ignoring its legitimate role and fiddling in a business about which politicians know absolutely nothing.
      At the root of the issue is reliance on the false prophets and the false religion of the Church of Thermageddon. As Richard Feyman so cleverly put it, “Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts.”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Under you proposition “Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts.” we should completely ignore your expertise Karabar.
        Personally, I give expertise far more traction that what some layperson , such as yourself, claims

        Like

  12. Well composed and factual, with a couple of exceptions:
    a) “On receiving the Tamar Valley station, Hydro Tasmania immediately cannibalised its book value down to zero and commenced decommissioning it in June 2014.”
    False. There was no “commencement of decommissioning”. The facility was prepared for intermediate to long term storage using state of the art techniques.

    b)”From 2012 to 2014, Hydro Tasmania had been a busy little bee, flogging off as much hydroelectricity as it could and closing down and selling the Tamar Valley power station’s major parts. ”
    False. No parts of the asset were sold. However, it wasn’t for lack of trying. You might be conflating TVPS with Bell Bay Power, which of course, being decommissioned, was relieved of any components that were salvageable, as one would expect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks karabar. I have made the necessary corrections to the article and made a note at the bottom.

      However, I have kept ‘commencement of decommissioning’. For the purpose of this article, if the plant isn’t fully operational, then it’s not in a ‘commissioned’ state. Therefore, putting it into ‘storage’ (while actively trying to flog the parts!) is commencement of decommissioning (in my books anyway).

      For the record, I didn’t get anything mixed up with Bell Bay. I always knew it was the old plant which Tamar Valley was designed to replace. My error came in extrapolating from the dozens of news articles I was going through and making the incorrect assumption that Hydro Tasmania was able to sell any parts of the Tamar Valley plant (yet another thing it couldn’t competently do). The funny thing is that the answer was staring me in the face in Wikipedia, which I had open the whole time and which my article had already provided a link to!

      Like

      1. I can understand your point of view. It becomes a matter of semantics.

        The old Bell Bay Power facility is well and truly decommissioned. It was in excellent condition when Hydro decided to shuffle the folks away that had operated it for thirty years and replace them with contractors with no “ownership” in the facility. As a result, No.1 boiler failed and is beyond repair. Then No.2 generator became depleted of hydrogen and is beyond repair. The old oil tanks were sold. Truckloads of tools grew legs and left. The gas supply connection is cut and welded. That is truly decommissioned.
        For five years TVPS was either operating or, near the end of that period ready to roll on short notice. Once unit 201 was in storage, operational capability was at best o[possible only after a few weeks’ intense work. It was laid up; not decommissioned.

        To my mind the term “recommission” would be the term to apply to the old Bell Bay Power facility if an asset owner went in to replace both boilers and No.2 alternator. Not that anyone in their right mind would be able to produce a positive NPV for such a venture.
        Incidentally, prior to the catastrophe with the alternator, a great deal of thought was given to a project similar to Genesis Energy’s Huntly Unit 5. Since the two Parsons generators and turbines were at that stage in good nick albeit thirty years old, the addition of a large GT and HRSG could have provided at facility of over 400 MW capacity. All that changed when the hydrogen parted company.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Tasmania uses roughly on figures at top of page about 7.58 Gwh a day or 7580000Kwh , a 2000Kw generator uses 533 litres of diesel per hour at full load so you would need two of those to cover peaks so that becomes 1066 litres an hour @ $1.20 = $1279.20 per hour to run so per year it would equate to 1279.20 x 24 Hr x 365 Days = $11,205,792 a year to run the state on diesel generation.
    Somebody needs to answer some questions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Correction on those figures it should be 7.58 Gwh per 24 Hr divided by 24 Hr = 315,833.333 Kwh / 2000 = 157.916 Gen-sets @ 533 litres per Hr = 84,169 litres Hr x $1.20 = $101,003 per hour x 24Hr =$2,424,084 per day, cost to run the state on diesel generation if the state was to run entirely on diesel generation .

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Thanks Max – the thought has certainly crossed my mind to put all those of the extreme left in their own state (I’d even let them have the most mineral rich one) so that the rest of us could get on with it. The problem is that, after they’d completely wrecked it, they’d just come straight back with their hands out!

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    1. Bring it on MP! Be happy to have all the dig it up, burn it, destroy it people like in their own state.
      People on the extreme left who like conservation and protecting the environment are going to destroy the environment they live in? I don’t think so – I would happily say you are projecting!

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  15. As I said befor, fill tasmania with the Ilegal’s and the Greens along with Labor commie’s and cut the ankor, let them sail off to the south pole.
    acording to their maddnes they should have no problem there, as there is no ice anymore. this would savethe main land and rid it off the sefcentrered ass holes.

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      1. It might be …

        Dharavi, Mumbai has a population density of 300,000 / km². Tasmania has an area of 68,401 km². So it could have a population of over 20 billion!

        And they say the world is overcrowded.

        Like

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