January 22, 2018 | Tom Quirk

Analysis of electricity costs for 18 and 19 January heat wave

The cost of electricity for the 18 and 19 January two day heat wave may be found from data on the AEMO website. For January there are half hour demand and price tables for each day. The extra cost of 18 and 19 January can be estimated by finding the cost differences from the average daily costs over the period 1 to 17 January after adjusting these costs to match the higher demand on 18 and 19 January.

The changes in prices can be clearly seen in the figure below with South Australia and Victoria having price spikes at the same time (AEMO data). New South Wales and Queensland had no such trouble.


The table below shows an estimate of the extra cost; The AEMO website dashboard gives average daily prices that are not weighted by the change of demand and price during the day. There are high prices with high demand and low prices with low demand. The costs below have been calculated using the weighted electricity prices.

The total extra electricity cost is some $400 million. This is an amazing example of the problems resulting from the introduction of too much renewable energy and the closure of coal burning power stations.

This note by Tom Quirk and Paul Miskelly was first posted by Joanne Nova who provided editorial  input to it.

Posted by Tom Quirk at 11:24 am | Comments (4) |
Filed under: Energy


  1. Yes, and a refusal to look at nuclear energy, namely thorium nuclear base load energy.

    Economist and ivy league Professor Robert Hargreaves in his book,” Thorium cheaper than coal,” is on the public record estimating the price of carbon free thorium energy to be $00.1.98 PKH as the median?

    At least it’s what he says on U tube. And extrapolated from the working molten salt reactors fuel usage at Oak Ridge Tennessee. Using that same extrapolation, it is possible to compare the molten salt reactors thorium consumption with that of a 350 MW enriched uranium solid fuelled reactor.

    We can say with some degree of certainty that over the life of the enriched uranium reactor the solid fuelled reactor will require a round 2551 tons of uranium. Which is as scarce as platinum and around as expensive? Yet still produces 2550 tons of nuclear waste?

    NASA scientist and nuclear technologist tells us than an equivalent, walk away safe, molten salt thorium reactor will burn over the same period, just one ton of as common as lead, thorium. And can be tasked with burning most nuclear waste, which other nations will pay us billions to bury. But only after we’ve extracted all the unspent energy from it, lowering the half life to around 300 years.

    And pay nothing for the virtually free energy we’d very safely produce! And enough money as annual billions to pay for all the necessary R+D to iron out any very minor technical difficulties. And build as many as a dozen 350 MW reactors.

    One cannot make a thorium bomb nor produce plutonium inside a molten salt thorium reactor, but one can burn up weapons grade plutonium, to permanently remove it from the weapons stockpile.

    THe molten salt reactor operates at atmosphere normal and therefore needs no special containment vessel nor hardened building, with com=ncrete walls proving more that adequete protection from the gamma radiation produced by the reaction.

    Which needs to be complete if only to make decommissioning a reasonably safe procedure, as well as mitigating against corrosion.

    Designed passive safety features mean in the event of any power loss the reaction stops and the safety system drains the reactor. The advantage with fluoride as the molten salt is the remarkably high boiling point at around 14,00 C And given the ideal operating temp is around 700 C. The system never boils.

    Enabling medical isotopes,like miracle cancer cure, bismuth 2/13 to be removed from a fully operational reactor. and important given this (officially withheld) medical miracle has a half life of just 45 minutes.

    Some of this bonanza of virtually free energy, could be tasked with creating metals with the lowest carbon footprint in the world! And for huge deionization dialysis desalination on large enough scale, to turn our most arid deserts into our most productive food bowl, and usher in an industrial renaissance the like of which the world has never ever seen!

    The seventh enemy in our midst will know all the reasons why this shouldn’t be done and even create some seemingly credible reasons why not! One of which it’s old technology. And that if it’s so good why aren’t others pursuing it?

    Hard to research something forbidden by US legislators protecting the interest of big nuclear and the fossil fuel industry?

    We need to ignore the highly conflationed reasons put by those who stand to have their business models destroyed by a successful trial and deployment of molten salt thorium.

    They include coal and most if not all renewables! And they’re lined up with their most powerful voices raised against Thorium!?

    If we want an economy that works for us, rather than foreign price gouging, tax avoiding, profit repatriating, debt laden foreigners, we need to crack on with thorium! And the miracle cure that is bismuth 2/13!
    Alan B Goulding.

    Comment by Alan Goulding — January 25, 2018 @ 5:27 pm

  2. NASA scientist and nuclear technologist referred to but not named as an oversight is Kirk Soresen. Apologies for the oversight, just out of hospital.

    Comment by Alan Goulding — January 25, 2018 @ 5:30 pm

  3. Seeing nobody else is prepared to say anything? I might as well wrap this one Graham?

    NASA scientist and nuclear technologist Kirk Sorensen was given unfettered access a few years ago, to all the data at the Oak Ridge reactor, some as copious notes and some digitied onto CD’s. And about to be destroyed?

    He saw no value in the destruction of information/years of worthwhile and important research.

    To say he was impressed by the expressed potential of thorium, an understatement. So impressed he spent much of his own money creating give away CD’s and sent them to all the congressmen and people’s representatives he could. All while further researching thorium extremely impressive potential for all he was worth!

    And as he says, so he could look his kids in the eye and tell them, he left no stone unturned to ensure they not only had a future, but a viable one for them and the planet that supports all life!

    For years with no apparent effect?

    Tin ears? Implacable recalcitrant intransigence? Powerful friends with very deep pockets? One wonders what story these, wooden head troglodytes swallowed, to cause them to forbid/outlaw further research?

    Some of big nuclear’s experts critiqued thorium, because it didn’t easily lend itself to fuel fabrication, the business model of big nuclear and where they make their billions! Arguably the very self serving, hit in the hip pocket reason, for that critique?

    Some of big nuclear’s experts went to Oak Ridge and found some corrosion, which they apparently obsessed over. And rightly so, if it’d been a conventional high pressure light water reactor or some such, where almost any corrosion would be/is a very serious problem or lethal!

    But not so in a molten salt thorium reactor! Because these things operate at normal atmosphere and unpressurised, meaning any leak of the melted medium is immediately impacted by normal temperature/outside atmosphere, where the leaking molten salt, usually crystallizes and solidifies sealing the leak!

    Apart from that, Chemists have usually relied on/employed sacrificial anodes to slow corrosion and electrolysis to sometimes prevent it.

    Even so, one would imagine, some robot assisted maintenance would remove the affected part from the associated plumbing and put it in a bath perhaps, where some electroplating and or, spray welding, would fix/repair the problem.

    Every power station has routine maintenance and some corrosion somewhere to deal with, and if the trade off was the world most affordable and reliable electricity supply, virtually anywhere it was required or wanted. Minus the usual obligatory and expensive transmission lines?

    Then that plus some routine maintenance, would be more than a useful and desirable trade off!

    In any event, the usual dithering and just not doing anything other than thunder mightily at the dispatch box, won’t cut it!

    Particularly, when all that beckons is decisive action to employ what any reasonable man, rather than your average smiling Jackass, would have to know is our only sane choice!

    But only if our alleged leaders, would maximise our economic potential and opportunities, while giving much more than mere lip service to our international agreements to reduce carbon output!

    The above would constrain carbon, all while turbo boosting our economic performance. And in an hitherto unknown snowballing scale/expansion. And a must if our alleged leaders, would serve this nation’s future security needs/essentials.

    While some essential coal is very definitely part of our, absolutely must have, industrial future! It is by no means, any which way, our future!
    Alan B, Goulding.

    Comment by Alan Goulding — February 3, 2018 @ 11:43 am

  4. Further footnote. More on the industrial possibilities of coal in a nuclear powered future.

    With ultra cheap power at our disposal, as outlined above, and it could be if we’re sanely led. We can deploy some waste heat to process coal into methane, then alternative diesel, jet fuel or petrol replacing methanol. And at profitable prices that more than compete with our current imported supply. I kid you not! Meaning we’d immediately save as much as 26 billion now expended as scarce export dollars, assuring local supply.

    Moreover, this would give us complete independence from all the multinational fuel suppliers, as well as creating thousands of brand new permanent Australian industries and jobs.

    And if we need to supplement those supplies from another endlessly reliable source?

    Cheap thorium based energy, would allow us to make all manner of alternative liquid/gas fuels from endlessly available seawater.

    The heat of a nuclear reaction making this method of creating fuel, technically possible and thorium power making it competitive with current imports.

    Further to that. energy as cheap as thorium still in our hands would give us, allow us to recycle all our waste rubber and plastic to turn it into crude oil available for myriad purposes.

    And these very real possibilities are just the tip of a very large iceberg, making virtually all environmentally and socially responsible recycling for profit in myriad cottage or regional industries? Very much can do!

    And as permanent job and entrepreneurial opportunities and snowballing flow on economic opportunities!

    Only those with manure for brains would sit on their hands, letting this unique (short window) opportunity pass us by. Just by obsessing over that albatross around our collective necks, coal.

    Or the sovereign risk, this course/choice might present to a few, debt laden, tax avoiding, price gouging, profit repatriating, foreign investors? An oxymoron if ever there was one.

    We need to decide who we serve? Malcolm, Tony, Bill. Them or us? We can’t do justice to both.

    Please let your fellow Australians know your choice before we return to the polls! But only if you think that is a perfectly reasonable request?
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan Goulding — February 4, 2018 @ 3:32 pm

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