Australian news, and some related international items

Australian Broadcasting Commission – parrotting the propaganda from the fossil fuel industries?

When will ABC stop parroting fossil fuel lobbyist lines?, REneweconomy, By  on 16 March 2017 Where’s the ABC Fact Check department when you need it? Ah, that’s right, it’s closed. And that’s a pity, because it would be kept mighty busy by some of the recent editorialising by Andrew Probyn, the 7.30 Report’s new political editor.

Probyn, like his predecessor, Chris Uhlmann, has got into the nasty habit of parroting fossil fuel myths as if they are fact. They’ve become obsessed with concepts such as “synchronous” generation and “baseload”, using them to slap down wind and solar without really understanding why or how.

This is a problem for ABC viewers because they are not getting a clear and unbiased picture of energy issues. A complex subject is being poorly served. Labor is accused by Probyn of being a “slave” to wind and solar ideology, while Uhlmann thinks more wind and solar will lead to a national blackout.

Last night, Probyn tried to wrap up the gas talks, led by prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, and the push into battery storage into one big omnibus piece. But then he got diverted by his own prejudice, or misconceptions.

The report started promisingly. Michael Ottaviano, the CEO of Perth-based Carnegie Clean Energy, was explaining how a local company could do exactly what Tesla’s Elon Musk could do – provide battery storage,  make wind and solar dispatchable, and provide grid security.

And, he said, they could do it at the same competitive prices, and in the same time frame. They could match Tesla and Musk on every front, with the exception of tweeting.

But in an instant after Ottaviano had explained how wind and solar and storage were a current reality, Probyn had decided it was something only for the future. (Full transcript here).

“Wave, solar and wind power may be key to the future energy mix, but the intermittent nature of renewables means they can’t yet guarantee baseload generation.”

Er, yes they can. Ottaviano just told you they can – not baseload, that is a redundant term invented by the fossil fuel lobby to justify coal generation, but dispatchable generation, which is what really counts.

When South Australia announced its new energy plan on Tuesday, it didn’t announce a baseload plant, it sought instead battery storage and a peaking gas plant. This is about dispatchability, not baseload.

It’s a crucial point. The energy market is in a massive technological transition. Running such lines about baseload is like arguing a car can’t do what a horse and cart can do because it doesn’t eat straw.

Mind you, it’s not just mainstream media that is slow to pick up on this, or being downright antagonistic, as is the case with much of the Murdoch media. The regulators have been slow too……..


March 17, 2017 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media

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