Electricity prices fall from ridiculous peak but it’s not due to renewables and it’s still not cheap

Electricity prices fall from ridiculous peak but it’s not due to renewables and it’s still not cheap
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The following post focusing on electricity prices, is syndicated from jonova.com.au.

This week the agitprop-media was full of contrived good news about electricity prices in Australia, associated suggestively, in the loosest, most meaningless way with the word “renewables”. Not one of them said that long term prices were still higher than when we started trying to force unreliable wind and solar power on the grid, and not one of them said prices would be one half of the price now if the country was lucky enough to run off brown coal.

Electricity prices

These misleading stories were disguised adverts for renewable energy pretending to be “news”. They were on display at The Guardian, The ABC and The Sydney Morning Herald, and every other paper across Australia. Not one journalist apparently had the wit to ask the AEMO how this compared to long term prices. But all of them obediently repeated that prices this December were 48% cheaper than the December before that, as if Australians like to discuss that sort of thing across the BBQ. Were monthly average wholesale prices good for you Jim?

Australia’s wholesale power prices fall by almost half as carbon emissions drop

The Guardian LogoWholesale power prices across Australia’s main electricity market almost halved at the end of 2023 compared with a year earlier, stoking hopes households may soon see smaller bills.

Spot prices in the National Electricity Market (Nem) that serves the eastern and southern states fell to an average of $48 a megawatt-hour (MWh) in the December quarter, down 48% on the previous year, the Australian Energy Market Operator (Aemo) said in a report released on Thursday. Carbon emissions also dropped to record lows.

The newspapers were conveniently parroting the half-truths and half-lies of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) which had issued a media release designed to mislead. What none of them reported was that current prices were merely a partial recovery from the obscenely high peaks of 2022, and things are still not as cheap as most of the years when the grid had more coal.

This graph below from the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) shows annual prices,  but the trend is clear. The more renewables we have, the more expensive electricity becomes. That’s a cause and effect thing. Renewables didn’t cause the last downward spike, but they did cause the long increase. Thank renewables for the price spikes at 6pm, the big batteries, the $12 billion Snowy 2.0 elephant and the $20 billion wish list for interconnectors. Unreliable generators make reliable ones more expensive.

If our whole electricity grid was 100% brown coal, electricity would be half the price

The newspapers blame fossil fuels for the freak pricing of 2022, but if Australia had more brown coal generators running, and allowed more gas exploration, we could have avoided some or most of the “war time” peaks. The peak was due to Net Zero policies trying to change the weather. Australia ran out of gas and couldn’t ramp up brown coal plants it had already blown up. If we could have shifted back to brown coal, we could have saved a fortune on electricity, and made a bonanza selling more black coal and gas to our desperate allies.

The thrill this week was that December prices returned to “just” $48 a megawatt hour. But this was nowhere near as cheap as brown coal was still supplying and winning bids at. The prices for the last quarter available here show that in Victoria, brown coal generators were still supplying electricity for $16/MWh, or one third of the whole monthly average cost. The negative prices for wind and solar power just prove the market is screwed. No business can operate by paying customers to use their product. It’s only subsidies drawn from the poor of Australia that keep the unreliable generators swimming in profits they do not deserve.

The cheapest energy in Australia is brown coal, bar none, and the “newspapers”, the academics, the Minister, and the paid staff of the AEMO are hiding that from the taxpayers and subscribers who pay their wages.

The data is quietly buried on page 18 of an 81 page report.

But the pattern is the same every quarter. Brown coal is always the cheapest reliable generator:

What do we pay them for? Neither the AEMO or the AER issue a press release telling the teachers, truckies and farmers of Australia that brown coal is far cheaper than any other reliable source. It’s like informed consent for voters — how can they judge how much the weather-control fantasy costs if the so-called “public servants” are not telling the whole truth?

One and half cents a kilowatt hour — that’s the price brown coal suppliers were still bidding and winning wholesale auctions at in 2023. Inflation my foot…

The news that matters to Australians is that the less coal power we have, the more expensive our electricity is getting.


AEMO Press Release

AEMO Quarterly Report Q4 2023

AER Victorian wholesale quarterly prices

Find more blogs from Joanne Nova here.

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Joanne is a former Australian Nine Network TV Host, Writer, Speaker and Author. Joanne is a regular expert guest around the world specialising in climate change and science communication. Her writing regularly appears in The Australian newspaper, The Spectator magazine and now here on The Aussie Wire.