In the election campaign Anthony Albanese promised Australians he would cut power bills by $275 a year. Not only did he say he hoped to do that, he said he knew it would happen. Now he’s walking away from his election promise.
Feelings will not keep the lights on, supermarket freezers cold or hospitals open. Feelings will not warm Australians in winter or cool us in summer. Evidence based policy will. Energy deficits in several areas of Australia have already caused blackouts. The 43 per cent target will cause many more blackouts.
The average spot price of $264 per megawatt hour last quarter is more than triple the average spot price of $85 per megawatt hour this time last year. Prime Minister Albanese knew this when he made his promise, and clearly economics is not the Prime Minister’s strong suit. If the cost of an item is up 300 per cent, the chances of being able to make it cheaper without the government paying for it are zero.
All I’m hearing so far is, ‘Build more wind and solar.’ Building more will simply add more capacity when we don’t need it, during the day, when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing. Solar and wind will need to be paired with some form of battery technology to move that generated electricity from the day, when we don’t need it, to the evening, when we do.
Coal sitting in hoppers ready to generate power on demand is the battery we have used successfully for 120 years. Alternatives to coal are thin on the ground. Battery storage costs are staggering and unsustainable: $1.5 million per megawatt hour. We need around 60,000 megawatt hours of energy in storage to ensure any 24-hour period is not subject to blackouts, yet batteries need 20 per cent above rated capacity to achieve full charge due to heat loss, which is why they catch fire a lot.
This means we need 72,000 megawatt-hours of storage, at a cost of $108 billion every 12 years, the life of a big Teslabattery. That is $9 billion every year. The Snowy 2 big hydro battery currently under construction will provide 1,000 megawatt-hours daily for 365 a year at a cost of $5 billion.
This means that pumped hydro will cost $300 billion to carry enough power for just one day. Of course, adding electric vehicle charging to the mix means a whole lot more blackouts and a whole lot more electricity price increases.
Net zero is an unaffordable fairy tale that will destroy our standard of living and destroy our lifestyle.