Battery Baloney, Hydrogen Hype and Green Fairy Tales

By Viv Forbes

How low Australia has fallen – our once-great BHP now has a “Vice President for Climate”, the number of Australian students choosing physics at high school is collapsing, and our government opposes nuclear energy while pretending we can build and operate nuclear submarines.

Our Green politicians want: “No Coal, No Gas, No Nuclear” while Our ABC, Our CSIRO and Our Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) are telling us that wind and solar energy plus a bit of standby gas, plus heaps of batteries and new power lines can power our homes, industries AND the mass electrification of our vehicle fleet. This sounds like Australia’s very own great leap backwards?

There are two troublesome Green Energy Unions – the Solar Workers down tools every night and cloudy day, and the Turbine Crews stop work if winds are too weak or too strong. And wind droughts can last for days. The reliable Coal and Gas Crews spend sunny days playing cards, but are expected to keep their turbines revving up and down to keep stable power in the lines.

Magical things are also expected from more rooftop solar. AEMO says we need to quadruple rooftop solar by 2050. But panel-power has four huge problems:

  • Zero solar energy is generated to meet peak demand at breakfast and dinner times.
  • Piddling solar power is produced from many poorly oriented roof panels or from the weak sunshine anywhere south of Sydney.
  • If too much solar energy pours into the network (say at noon on a quiet sunny Sunday), the grid becomes unstable. Our green engineers have the solution – be ready to charge people for unwanted power they export to the grid, or just use “smart meters” to turn them off.
  • More rooftop solar means less income and more instability for reliable power utilities so they have to raise electricity charges. This cost falls heaviest on those consumers with no solar panels, or no homes

Magical things are also expected from batteries.

When I was a kid on a dairy farm in Queensland, I saw our kerosene lamps and beeswax candles replaced by electric lights. We had 16 X 2 volt batteries on the veranda and a big thumping diesel generator in the dairy. (At least those old lead acid batteries on our veranda did not catch fire and explode while re-charging.) See https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/fire-breaks-out-at-south-korean-battery-plant-at-least-22-people-dead/ar-BB1oLPAD

It was a huge relief, years later, when power poles bringing reliable electricity marched up the lane to our house. All those batteries disappeared with the introduction of 24/7 coal power.

Batteries are NEVER a net generator of power – they just store energy generated elsewhere, incurring losses on charging and discharging.

There has to be sufficient generating capacity to meet current demand while also recharging those batteries. What provides electricity to power homes, lifts, hospitals and trains AND to recharge all those vehicle batteries after sundown on a still winter night? (Hint: Call the reliable coal/gas/nuclear crews.)

The same remorseless equations apply to all the pumped hydro schemes being dreamed up – EVERY ONE is a net consumer of power once losses are covered and the water is pumped back up the hill.

Yet AEMO hopes we will install 16 times our current capacity of batteries and pumped hydro by 2050 – sounds like the backyard steel plans of Chairman Mao or the Soviet Gosplan that constipated initiative in USSR for 70 years. Who needs several Snowy 2 fiascos running simultaneously? All taxpayer funded, AEMO planned, ABC supported and union run – what could possibly go wrong

Mother Nature has created the perfect solar battery which holds the energy of sunlight for millions of years. When it releases that energy for enterprising humans, it returns CO2 for plants to the atmosphere from whence it came. It is called “Coal”.

“Hydrogen” gets a lot of hype, but it is an elusive and dangerous gas that is rarely found naturally.  To use solar energy to generate hydrogen and to then use that hydrogen as a power source is just another silly scheme to waste water and solar energy. It always takes more energy to produce hydrogen than it gives back. Let green billionaires, not taxpayers, spend their money on this merry-go-round.

Who is counting the energy and capital consumed, and the emissions generated, to manufacture, transport and install all that green machinery. Our continent is being covered by suffocating solar panels, noisy bird slicers, high voltage power lines, access roads and hydro schemes; now they want to invade our shallow seas. Who is going to clean up this mess when it wears out in a few years’ time?

As Jo Nova says:

“No one wants industrial plants in their backyard, but when we have to build 10,000 km of high voltage towers, 40 million solar panels and 2,500 bird killing turbines – it’s in everyone’s backyard.”

See: https://joannenova.com.au/2024/06/on-fire-australian-opposition-throws-down-the-nuclear-gauntlet-in-the-energy-wars-no-more-large-scale-renewables/

With all of this planned and managed by the same people who gave us Pink Batts, Snowy 2 hydro and the NBN/NDIS fiascos, what could possibly go wrong?

Another big problem is emerging – country people don’t want powerlines across their paddocks, whining wind turbines on their hills and glittering solar panels smothering their flats. And seaside dwellers don’t want to hear or see wind turbines off their beaches. Even whales are confused.

The solution is obvious – build all wind and solar facilities in electorates that vote Green/Teal/Labor. Those good citizens can then listen to the turbines turning in the night breezes and look out their windows to see shiny solar panels on every roof. This will make them feel good that they are preventing man-made global warming. Those electorates who oppose this silly green agenda should get their electricity from local coal, gas or nuclear plants.

What about the net/zero targets?

At the same time as Australia struggles to generate enough reliable power for today, governments keep welcoming more migrants, more tourists, more foreign students and planning yet more stadiums, games and circuses. All of this generates MORE emissions and is incompatible with their demand for NET ZERO EMISSIONS.

Unlike Europe, the Americas and Asia, Australia has no extension cords to neighbours with reliable power from nuclear, hydro, coal or gas – we are on our own.

Australia has abundant resources of coal and uranium – we mine and export these energy minerals but Mr Bowen, our Minister for Blackouts, says we may not use our own coal and uranium to generate future electricity here. Someone needs to tell him that no country in the world relies solely on wind, solar and pumped hydro. Germany tried but soon found they needed French nuclear, Scandinavian hydro, imported gas and at least 20 coal-fired German power plants are being resurrected or extended past their closing dates to ensure Germans have enough energy to get through the winter.

Australia is the only G20 country in which nuclear power is illegal (maybe no one has told green regulators that we have had a nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights in Sydney since 1958). Australia is prepared to lock navy personnel beside nuclear power plants in our new nuclear-powered submarines but our politicians forbid nuclear power stations in our wide open countryside.

More CO2 in the atmosphere brings great benefits to life on Earth. If man adds to it, the oceans dissolve a swag of it, and what stays in the atmosphere is gratefully welcomed by all plant life.

In 2023 Australia added just 0.025 ppm to the 420 ppm in today’s atmosphere. Most of this probably dissolved in the oceans. If we in Australia turned everything off tomorrow, the climate wouldn’t notice – but our plant life would, especially those growing near power stations burning coal or gas and spreading plant food.

Climate has always changed and a warm climate has never been a problem on Earth.

It is cold that kills. Especially during blackouts.

Further Reading:

The Blackout Agenda:
https://saltbushclub.com/2021/06/17/the-blackout-agenda/

“Nuclear, and Labor’s Lying Lips” by John Mikkelsen:
https://www.spectator.com.au/2024/06/nuclear-and-labors-lying-lips/

Coal, oil, and natural gas continue to supply about 87 percent of all global energy:
https://robertbryce.com/numbers-dont-lie/

When Wind Fails and the Grid Dies:
https://www.flickerpower.com/index.php/search/categories/general/list-of-briefing-notes

AEMC chief executive Benn Barr said households selling their excess power back into the grid are putting increasingly unmanageable strain on a system that was not set up to be two-way.”
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-08-12/power-companies-to-charge-solar-owners-for-exporting-to-grid/100368588

Another proposal is to use smart meters to switch off the power that a household exports.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-15/sa-power-networks-to-control-solar-exports-in-adelaide-trial/100070068

Ocean Temperature Controls CO2:
https://carbon-sense.com/2010/12/29/forbes-co2-and-oceans/

The Insane Plan of the UK Government to Decarbonise the Economy:
https://principia-scientific.org/uk-governments-insane-plan-to-decarbonize-the-economy/

CO2 – the good gas:
https://carbon-sense.com/2024/04/06/co2-the-good-gas/


Viv Forbes BScApp, FAusImm, FSIA. Executive Director of the Saltbush Club and Founder of the Carbon Sense Coalition. He has no investments in or contracts with gas, coal or cement companies. But he has a diesel generator in the shed, a petrol-powered quad bike, a diesel tractor, a gas barby and solar panels on his roof.

11 thoughts on “Battery Baloney, Hydrogen Hype and Green Fairy Tales”

  1. Another great article. What could be clearer than that? Are our political leaders blind and deaf? What sort of country allows this nonsense to cripple its economy? Perfectly good coal-fired power stations and grid can continue to serve long into the future with proper maintenance. Once were smokestacks, now are chimneys as scrubbers take out the nasties, and carbon dioxide is NOT a pollutant, neither is the principal greenhouse gas, water vapour.
    Well-researched studies show the disconnect between carbon dioxide and surface temperatures, A recent paper by Australian scientist Ian McNaughton should be tabled in the Parliaments . The contribution of carbon dioxide to the planetary climate is negligible when compared to volcanicity as described by Prof. Wyss Yim , and an understanding of the physics and need for more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to feed plant life is explained by Prof. Will Happer et al .
    I loathe a glass-clad landscape, a land of shiny panes
    That all need window cleaners, and don’t work, when it rains.

    1. Additionally, renowned and respected physicists, Van Wijngaarden and Happer, have shown the radiation absorption of atmospheric CO2 is now saturated and even doubling the concentration will have negligible effect. All the attempts to lower or prevent anthropogenic CO2 emissions is a waste of time and resources. The challenge is to get politicians to realise this and act sensibly starting with rejection of Net Zero policies.

  2. BATTERIES IN NEW ENGLAND TO COUNTERACT A ONE-DAY WIND/SOLAR LULL FOR A MERE $456 BILLION

    https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/batteries-in-new-england.

    Currently, the variable output of wind and solar is counteracted by fossil-fired, CO2-emitting, quick-reacting power plants. Some people want to replace such power plants with large-scale battery systems to reduce CO2 emissions. This article presents an analysis that shows, using such batteries systems for counteracting, and storing electricity, even for one day, has a very high owning and operating cost, even with 50% subsidies.

  3. Current estimates are that coal still provides 46% and gas 17% of electricity generation, solar provides 16%, wind 12%; this is a long way from net-zero by 2030! The government’s electricity generation plan is based on “wishful thinking”, and we are well aware of “Nation Building” schemes ballooning in cost. Labor is attempting to ridicule the nuclear backup option on cost and safety grounds, meanwhile it fails to reveal the infinitely greater cost (and unreliability) of renewables.

    With coal all gone by 2038, and diminishing gas availability, we’re heading off an ever steeper cliff; as the lights go out, its time to stock up on candles!

  4. Brilliantly put,
    In my humble views the problem is not politicians, but world new order
    lobbyists with jobs for mates attitude. The ideology is to destroy middle class by putting them into a slavery with ballooning debt as they pay for it all, while the rich disappear into the sunset.

  5. Someone has corrected me on another site:
    “But panel-power has four huge problems”.

    Make that five please. Solar panels – domestic and commercial – last around 25 years, and their performance degrades every year. That means hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of panels will need to be removed, recycled, and replaced at a massive financial and environmental cost.

    Guess who won’t be around to take responsibility. (No ? needed.)

  6. One piece of information that is missing in all the brough-ha-ha about the touted solar panel on the roof solution (add in all solar panel and wind generators) is the true cost of production and installation of these systems. By now this must be approaching the level of proposed ‘nuclear’ power stations (and for ‘subsidies’ read taxpayer funds.)
    I suggest that one way of stopping complaints about house prices in the immediate vicinity falling would be to grant forever free power to all properties within a short distance from the power station. NIMBYS watch out for the rush to buy same.

  7. It’s not plain sailing with home batteries. A current ad in various newspapers is very relevant.
    LG and SolaX Power have placed an urgent recall notice for solar home batteries they have sold/installed.
    “Your home is at risk of fire” is the main message.
    How often are we going to see this type of message? It’s a worry.

    1. Greetings Denis Ives, I’ve just seen a YouTube segment showing a factory production worker installing a lithium battery device. The work is implemented over a tank of water. In case of fire the equipment is instantly dumped into the tank and alarms are sounded.

  8. “Another big problem is emerging – country people don’t want power lines across their paddocks, “. Not exactly true, here in the southern wheat belt of WA. I have neighbouring farmers who are keen to have windmills erected on rocky hills which are not Arable. That is the extent of their vision. Money for doing nothing more than “hosting” windmills at around $40k each, per year. The big picture is not in their purview. Can’t blame them, but I am disappointed at their lack of foresight and their acquiescence to the wind powered plan.

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