The Weekly Times set the record straight on wind energy

The Weekly Times has set the record straight about wind energy’s impact on electricity bills just days after publishing a report claiming the technology to be the cause of recent price hikes in South Australia. Yes 2 Renewables published this blog in defence of wind energy. 

Samantha Landy reports for the Weekly Times:

Wind Farms Lower Power Bills: Authorities

It said a draft determination by the Essential Services Commission of SA released last month, which proposed an 8.1 per cent reduction in the default retail electricity price from January 1, meaning a $160 per year reduction in the average household’s bill, proved otherwise.

“To conclude that wind farms are driving up prices shows an ignorance of the facts,” BZE executive director Matthew Wright said.

“Wind turbines have no fuel costs once built.

“In the electricity market, they out-compete fossil fuel generators and cause a lowering of prices.”

Mr Wright said this is known as the `merit order effect’, which means if you introduce more of a product into a market, that is increase supply, then prices fall.

Clean Energy Council policy director Russell Marsh said ESCOSA figures showed the large scale renewable energy target, which comprises wind energy, contributed less than two per cent to the average household energy bill in South Australia in 2012.

This equates to about $32 per year.

Network costs (42 per cent or $823 per year) and wholesale electricity costs (39 per cent, $760) made much larger contributions.

“The facts are that whichever state you’re in, the main driver for price rises in not renewable energy, that only plays a small part,” Mr Marsh said.

“This has been confirmed by governments and state regulators.”

Mr Marsh said wind energy had been hugely beneficial for South Australia, significantly reducing carbon emissions and creating jobs and investment in the state.

Read the whole news item at the Weekly Times

10 thoughts on “The Weekly Times set the record straight on wind energy

  1. Even the small scale renewables setup results in a lowering of electricity costs.
    I am “off grid” and receive zero electricity bills. But I do give myself an occasional ‘bill’ to ensure that when I have to replace my storage in 2018, I will be fully cashed up and able to install a new battery.
    My 20 year experience speaks for itself.
    Modest costs and no interruption to supply.
    If people weren’t so intimidated by change, more of them might do it and enjoy the result.

  2. Agree John P. I have been off-grid for a decade now. I have a very robust and adequate system that enables a very normal lifestyle for my wife and I.

    Improvements have been continuous. For example inverters and chargers have been merged into a single box, and their nett efficiencies have improved vastly. Solar panels have halved in price.
    More modern inverters, aside from being more compact can also manage your power use by initiating generator input under pre-set conditions that include excessive current draw on the system, battery low condition, excess heat and more. These features add years to the life of batteries and the system generally.
    I understand also that systems can be linked to the internet and individual panels monitored for output.

    In ten years the only unintentional power outage occurred by an omission of mine, not the system.

    1. Yes Geoffrey. Modern PV and battery based power plants are sophisticated and reliable. Interestingly, the recent collapse in panel prices means that 750 watts of additional PV input costs about the same as a good battery charger.
      Thus, I have pensioned off my genset and charger. No noise, no smell, no startup problems in the dark on a winter’s night.
      The further implication is that such renewable energy plants could be installed in an urban context without upsetting the neighbours.

  3. Thanks for the extra info JPM. We are in the wet tropics and there is a period during the year when isolation is depressed, so I’m not ready to de-comission my gen-set yet – plus it has the power to handle the start-up current of my bore, so I need it a few times every year. I now have a soft-start arrangement working, but there is no benefit to changing my available generating capacity except enjoy how little I need it.

    I may as well mention that I installed a solar HWS a few years back. Bottled gas was my old system and my total usage per annum was nine X 45 Kg bottles. I’m down to approximately 0.7 bottles per annum now; less than a two year pay back period. Solar HWS is great, it really works. Only the governments dick us around on that one.

    1. All stand alone installations are a “one off” because the system is designed to to meet the demands of the load. Your setup does what you want and that is the key.
      You are right also about solar water heating. It represents best value for money and has done now for several years.
      I installed my first solar water heater in 1977 and that proved the point. The newer heat pump versions look like being the ‘next big thing’ in that they can run in all conditions and not require backup!
      In many cases there is a role for LPG but with increasing costs and the impediment of greenhouse gas emissions, the heat pump version powered by solar will be a big winner.
      It is disappointing that when an individual or a group try to do something worthwhile for the environment, the first big hurdle they face is erected by government.

      1. Gas back up for solar HWS is fine, but rules these days don’t permit a gas burner to be under the house. With many Queensland homes, for example, being high set allowed electric HWS under the house. Adding a gas support for solar can therefore be problematic.

        You are right about governments getting in the way. I suspect they are so addicted to being “in charge” of everything they can’t help themselves. They have, over time, generated an expectation that government will fix everything, a task well beyond impossible. At the same time citizens are dis-empowered from generating their own solutions.

        If a politician campaigns that he will promise his government will do less and allow us to do more, he will get my vote.

  4. We live on different planets Geoffrey! More or less.
    I am in rural Victoria – a cool temperate zone – and close to the wineries!!.
    I live in a 9 star, zero emissions house with no power bills, no water bills, no heating costs and no cooling costs. (There is no heater in the house – no aircon).
    The point is that by being 100% renewable, I have reduced running costs to (effectively) zero.
    The method used to achieve this outcome is not a state secret. It is not rocket science.
    It does depend on the second law of thermodynamics certainly, but most people met this idea in secondary school.
    I have been able to apply it in a practical way to house design.
    More details on request.

    1. Thanks JP, and I would appreciate more detail. I am also interested in the wineries…

      FYI, and I’m not playing a game, but my home is pretty much zero emissions, with no heat or air con, minimal light and so on on. It’s pretty self sufficient.

      I was given a “project” last year that required me to firstly complete an energy audit on my entire home (including car use). The second part was to reduce that energy use by margins of 10%, then 40% and finally 80%. I concede I was less than optimistic about the last target, but to my surprise I was able to find 92% reduction, and there was more if I kept going.

      My point is that we can massively reduce our energy spend if we have the will to to and that circumstances make it plausible. Solar is one component of course but there are many more options that can be exercised without huge lifestyle concessions.

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