Quite the week with some interesting things going on globally related to the electricity sector and how havoc has struck in some parts of the world! The following are just a few that caught my eye!
South Australia big Tesla battery sued for not helping during Queensland coal power station failure
South Australia has gone bigtime into renewable energy and back in 2016 they experienced a major blackout and in March 2017 the blame was squarely laid on renewable energy (wind and solar) by AEMO (Australian Energy Market Operator). The blackout had triggered Elon Musk to step into the fray via a winning bid to build a battery storage unit which they did successfully in the 100 days promised. Since then other (TESLA) battery storage units have been added and one of them failed to deliver the power stored when called on back in 2019 and now are being sued by the AER (Australian Energy Regulator). As it to top things off in Australia; a fire broke out at another big TESLA battery storage unit (300/450MW) under construction. One article about the fire stated; “More than 150 people from Fire Rescue Victoria and the Country Fire Authority responded to the blaze, and it is expected to burn throughout the night for 8 to up to 24 hours.” The foregoing lawsuit and the recent fire suggests battery storage may not be what will supply us with reliable power to back up intermittent wind and solar.
As one would expect California has also gone full bore into battery storage and they too recently experienced an event which forced the shutdown of Moss Landing reputed to be “the largest battery storage facility in the world“. The owners, Vistra Corp. claimed; “a limited number of battery modules” at the storage facility overheated on Saturday night, resulting in the facility going offline.“ Another more current article on September 16, 2021 had the following: “Now, only nine months into operation and less than three weeks after Vistra cut the ribbon on an expansion, most of the largest battery storage facility in the world has gone dormant with no timeline for a return.“ It certainly appears, based on these recent events that unreliable power generation storage should not be the back-up for unreliable and intermittent power generation.
Close to home and a recent Hydro One Bill
Receipt of a recent Hydro One bill and the information contained in it led the writer to do a quick calculation to determine the “total cost” per kWh (kilowatt hour) on what I was required to pay. Simply dividing my total bill by kWh consumed showed the all-in cost was 14.3 cents/kWh. Flipping the bill over however one notes, a little box titled “What do I need to know?” That box had a fairly large amount listed as “Total Ontario support:” followed by a dollar amount. When the latter amount is added to what I have to pay and divided by our consumption the cost per kWh comes to 23 cents/kWh. The difference of 8.7 cents/kWh multiplied by the kWh delivered to “residential customers” (13.448 billion kWh) by Hydro One (according to the 2020 Yearbook of Distributors recently released by the OEB (Ontario Energy Board), indicates tax dollars paid to them to keep residential rates at 14.3 cents/kWh amounts to $1.170 billion but their pretax net income was only $414 million. Now they are applying to the OEB for approval to spend $13.5 billion over the next five years which will undoubtedly further increase rates and tax subsidies.
China’s sudden hate for cryptocurrency mines
An article in the Financial Post about theft of electricity to create a bitcoin mining operation by a public employee of a NY State County suggested he will face a myriad of criminal charges. The FP article referenced a NY Times estimate that bitcoin mining uses 91 TWh globally which is about what 8 million average Canadian households consume annually. Another article noted a Cambridge University study suggests; “Globally, Bitcoin mining consumes around 121 TWh a year “
The bulk of bitcoin mining has been in China which was once said to contain about 75% of all cryptocurrency mines but China has been forcing out the miners who were using their low-priced electricity meaning many of them have either moved or are looking elsewhere. We should suspect China’s move is associated with the upcoming COP 26 Conference in Glasgow. China will not be stepping up to agree to reduce their emissions at COP 26 but by booting out the bitcoin miners (63% reputedly used coal generated electricity) they will reduce the need to add more coal fired electricity. One should also understand that the current price for coal per ton has soared over the past 12 months which presumably is driving up energy costs in China. Where those cryptocurrency miners relocate to however, will directly impact emissions from the countries they move to.
The Circular Economy
The WEF (World Economic Forum) in one of their posts stated: “The circular economy, which promotes the elimination of waste and the continual safe use of natural resources, offers an alternative that can yield up to $4.5 trillion in economic benefits to 2030.“ Is the following picture (sent to me by a contact who asked me to spot the bulldozer) what the founder of the WEF, Klaus Schaub and one of his advisors; Mark Carney, had in mind?
Unrecyclable wind turbine blades being buried in a landfill seem to form part of the “Circular Economy”!
One should wonder why the WEF and others push renewable energy from wind and solar and believe the world’s population will not recognize the lies they are advancing to simply increase their wealth?
If the UK’s PM Boris Johnson was smart, he would cancel COP 26 as the world struggles to cope with the faulty unreliability of the “green energy” adopted by so many politicians and caused a cessation in investment for reliable fossil fuels and a significant spike in their costs due to green energy’s failures.
The results around the world of the “green” push continue to illustrate the fallacy of exiting fossil fuels without having anything resembling reasonably priced reliable power at the ready!