The pitfalls of part-time power

Solar power works only while the sun shines – it is part-time power.

Wind power works only when suitable winds blow – also part-time power.

Batteries work only when charged – part-time power again.

Hydro fails in droughts – more part-time power.

And using full-time power like gas to fill the inevitable supply gaps from part-time power forces backup gas to operate like part-time power.

Moreover, on sunny, windy days, wind and solar generators spew out electricity at little extra cost.  These erratic surges of part-time power drive electricity prices so low that even low-cost full-time producers like coal cannot operate profitably at those times.  They are throttled back and forced to operate as yet another part-time power plant.

Twenty-four-seven electricity users such as hospitals, trains, factories, refineries, fuel and water pumps, cash registers, infrastructure, and mines cannot operate on part-time electricity.

Moreover, every part-time power-producer (using sun, wind, batteries, hydro, gas, or coal) consumes money full-time for operations, standby, maintenance, and replacement.  Each also has to fund its own specialized generators, transmission lines, access roads, and workforce.  Electricity becomes both unreliable and expensive, and consumers suffer.

Using taxes, subsidies, dictates, and mandates to replace a full-time power-producer like coal with up to five part-time power producers makes sense only in the part-time minds that inhabit Greentopia.

In Australia and elsewhere, governments cannot improve any of this with more laws and regulations.  Legislators must repeal all the legislation, regulations, subsidies, and taxes that created the mess in the first place.  State governments too should repeal their silly energy laws and stop shutting and destroying power stations.  More laws and regulations can only make things worse.

Solar power works only while the sun shines – it is part-time power.

Wind power works only when suitable winds blow – also part-time power.

Batteries work only when charged – part-time power again.

Hydro fails in droughts – more part-time power.

And using full-time power like gas to fill the inevitable supply gaps from part-time power forces backup gas to operate like part-time power.

Moreover, on sunny, windy days, wind and solar generators spew out electricity at little extra cost.  These erratic surges of part-time power drive electricity prices so low that even low-cost full-time producers like coal cannot operate profitably at those times.  They are throttled back and forced to operate as yet another part-time power plant.

Twenty-four-seven electricity users such as hospitals, trains, factories, refineries, fuel and water pumps, cash registers, infrastructure, and mines cannot operate on part-time electricity.

Moreover, every part-time power-producer (using sun, wind, batteries, hydro, gas, or coal) consumes money full-time for operations, standby, maintenance, and replacement.  Each also has to fund its own specialized generators, transmission lines, access roads, and workforce.  Electricity becomes both unreliable and expensive, and consumers suffer.

Using taxes, subsidies, dictates, and mandates to replace a full-time power-producer like coal with up to five part-time power producers makes sense only in the part-time minds that inhabit Greentopia.

In Australia and elsewhere, governments cannot improve any of this with more laws and regulations.  Legislators must repeal all the legislation, regulations, subsidies, and taxes that created the mess in the first place.  State governments too should repeal their silly energy laws and stop shutting and destroying power stations.  More laws and regulations can only make things worse.