16 March, 2017

Tim Blair

Courtesy of the Daily Telegraph

The Snowy Mountains hydro scheme is Australia’s greatest engineering accomplishment. Not only that, but it stands as an emblem of a changed and enriched Australia following large-scale European immigration in the 1950s.

Constructed by a stunningly varied multi-national workforce, the Snowy remains a testament to the vision of its designers. And now, in one of the boldest moves of his career, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull proposes to increase the mighty Snowy scheme’s electrical output by a massive 50 per cent.

In an era when even building a simple road requires dealing with all manner of environmental and planning regulations, Turnbull’s plan will be a huge legislative challenge. Yet, exactly as was the original Snowy Mountains hydro scheme, this project could be a nation-building cause of celebration.

And it is driven by the same need that saw construction of the initial Snowy scheme begin in 1949 – the need for reliable and abundant power.

“The unprecedented expansion will help make renewables reliable, filling in holes caused by intermittent supply and generator outages,” Prime Minister Turnbull said, in a modern version of then-PM Ben Chifley’s official launch speech nearly 70 years ago.

“Every Australian should be confident that they can turn the lights on when they need them. We will always put sensible, considered energy decisions ahead of reckless targets that cannot guarantee power supply to Australians.”

A great giant is about to awaken. This will truly be something to watch.

This is today’s Daily Telegraph editorial. On further matters electrical, CEO of the Australian Power Project Nathan Vass emails:

I can’t believe how much media this ‘Tesla can save South Australia’ thing is getting. Tesla regularly boosts of a $0 marketing budget, recognising they can get the media to promote their brand for free.

Australian media should be reporting that a 100-megawatt-hour battery provides you 100 megawatts for one hour, then it’s empty. You can’t recharge it if the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. 100 MW isn’t going to achieve much given SA typically requires 2,895 MW on a peak day in Summer.

The greatest exposing of Elon Musk is via the words of Tesla’s business partner Panasonic, who supply the lithium-ion cells that form the foundation of Tesla’s batteries:

“We are at the very beginning in energy storage in general,” says Phil Hermann, chief energy engineer at Panasonic Eco Solutions. “Most of the projects currently going on are either demo projects or learning experiences for the utilities. There is very little direct commercial stuff going on. Elon Musk is out there saying you can do things now that the rest of us are hearing and going, ‘really?’ We wish we could but it’s not really possible yet.”

I’m amazed so many in the media are willing to report as news what was clearly a well-coordinated PR stunt.

Everything Musk does is a PR stunt.

2017-03-16T10:52:11+11:00 March 16th, 2017|