More on the Causes of the SA Blackout
The black out in South Australia (which still exists in parts of the state) has produced disputes about whether this is simply “the weather” or something more substantial. The Premier of South Australia is reported as attributing it to extreme weather causing towers to collapse but neither he nor his Energy Minister have made any justifying news releases so far. By contrast, the Herald Sun’s business editor, Terry McCrann, has made it clear that the weather was not extreme and that the blame lies with the structure of the electricity net work including the extensive reliance on renewable energy to meet demand (40%) (see McCrann on SA Blackout).
McCrann acknowledges that “the proximate cause of SA’s power failure was transmission towers being blown down in last week’s storm” but points out that “the winds in SA last Wednesday were neither unprecedented nor particularly violent. They didn’t top 100kmh; they didn’t even reach the speeds of the lowest level of cyclone”. He suggests that the attempt to blame the weather derives from a situation where “Too many people might actually have been given an all-too-embarrassing glimpse of the ‘renewable energy-free future!’ So they went into maximum denial across the mainstream and social medias, while also viciously targeting anyone who had the temerity to suggest that the blackout might not have been totally, well, disconnected, to the obvious consequence of global warming alarmism”.
McCrann also confirms that the claim I made in my published letter that “the use of wind or solar power must be backed-up by a power plan which can be ramped up quickly when wind and solar do not generate enough (or any) electricity”. This means that the back-up from fossil fuels (assuming nuclear is not available) should not be far off that provided normally by renewables, unless storage in batteries can be developed economically.
The imminent meeting of Commonwealth and State energy ministers should agree on a national inquiry into the best system for supplying electric energy and this should include an updated assessment of how long the risk of continuing at least partial use of fossil fuels can be extended. The claim by the Victorian government that it can “cope with the loss of coal” from closure of generators fuelled by coal is simple-minded and needs to take account of the need to have a substantial back-up from plants using fossil fuels.
Aleppo & Obama’s Role in Syria
As the slaughter of civilians and destruction of hospitals (reported as all gone) and other buildings continues in Aleppo it appears that even the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, feels forced to reveal that he has tried to persuade Obama to use American troops (see attached Kerry on Aleppo & Obama). According to this report from The Times, “ Mr Kerry repeatedly complained his diplomacy had not been backed by a serious threat of military force. ‘I think you’re looking at three people, four people in the administration who have all argued for use of force, and I lost the argument,’ he said in an audio clip posted on the Times website. ‘We’re trying to pursue the diplomacy, and I understand it’s frustrating. You have nobody more frustrated than we are.’” This the first time I have heard of such a division within the Administration but I assume that Kerry is too important to Obama to mean that he will not be dismissed (but wouldn’t it happen in Australia?). An interesting question arises if a similar problem develops when the Iraqi-US-assisted attack on Mosul gets under way.
I have drawn attention recently to the attempts being made by radical Muslims in France and Holland to spread the application of Sharia law to non-Muslims. This article by Australian-born Ida Lichter outlines in a very carefully-worded text some of the attempts to moderate Muslim communities’ attitudes to women from within – and the difficulties of doing so. Note in particular that in Canada there is a Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow which is “committed to opposing extremism, and advancing enlightenment and diversity”. The author of the article does not say if there is any equivalent organisation in Australia or whether she thinks there needs to be. Given the apparent difficulty of securing moderation through British courts, one can only hope that Australian Muslims do not need to take such action here, although our Human Rights Commission has shown no inclination to support moderation.