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Back to the drawing board, Malcolm

By Peter Hunt

Malcolm Turnbull’s example of how the Snowy Mountain Pumped Hydro scheme expansion would make money for the government/s doesn’t stack up. He explained on the news how you can pay $40 per MWH to pump water uphill at night then by releasing it when demand is high, generate electricity, and sell it for $50 MWH thus making a $10 profit.

His example makes a fundamental school-boy error of not taking into account the 20% of energy lost in the process, unless he’s somehow discovered the secret of perpetual motion. If you pay $40 to pump water uphill then recover 80% of the embedded energy when it is subsequently released for sale at $50 MWH, you can at best break even at the operational level ($50 * 80% = $40) and would be making a big loss, taking into account capital costs.

Whilst he obviously plucked figures out of the air for his example you would think that a former bankster and supposed business genius would have a better grasp of the facts and basic arithmetic. It really does suggest policy ‘on the fly’ … with very little thought!



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  1. Halfbreeder

    He has admitted on television interview that the pumping process would use coal generated electricity. That’s not sustainable even though its hydro.

    If this project goes a head it will be a ‘fattening up’ process of the snowy scheme infrastructure getting it ready for privatisation. In that case electrivity prices would increase as a private operator would want to add a profit margin and the gst would be added on top.

  2. John Boyd

    Another anomaly in his logic is pumping uphill at night. That power would have to come entirely from wind, unless you use fossil fuel generators. Surely you would wish to maximise the use of solar as well. After all,
    the whole philosophy of using pumped storage is to cover the peaks in the renewable system, rather than having to rely on fossil fuel. All this just reinforces the need for a nationally integrated system, without this farce of a so-called energy market.

  3. keerti

    …but then turnpuke is the business genius who paid for his half mil job with a two mil donation to his party!Please give him time to think!

  4. Lorraine Stansfiewld

    Isn’t this the same Turnbull who invested the taxpayers money into making rain?

  5. bobrafto

    My take.

    Apparently he has known about this since before Xmas and he could have spruiked it to all and sundry.

    Other opinions are that the Snowy is fully optimized.

    As much as I would like it to be a goer, my gut instinct tells me that Trembles grabbed anything he could to countenance SA plans.

  6. pierre wilkinson

    and yet he has just received a boost in the opinion polls >sigh<

  7. Richard Creswick

    A seven year project, allegedly to be completed long after he has been sent to political oblivion and it gets him a poll boost, not just ‘sigh’ Pierre, outright WTF, how dumb are those being polled?

  8. brickbob

    This so called poll ” boost” is rubbish,News Corpse are master liars and con artists.

  9. kristapet

    What a joy it is to read this “call out”!
    Please, Please, more of you, who know their facts, and “onions’ (not to be confused with Abbott’s ‘notion’ of the term), do the same with other “thought bubbles” by our esteemed (-), Prime Minister, and others in the LNP cabinet, plus like minded politicians, as they love to blab without thinking, about, how we ‘see’, and perceive, their interminable blabbing, and spinning

  10. helvityni

    ‘The Mal from Snowy Hydro has a plan’, writes ABC’s Annabel…

    And I’ll be patient and wait, four years,seven years, oh no… I better go and buy some more candles…scented ones, to calm ‘me’ nerves….

  11. Mark Needham

    Not the easiest thing, to manage generation to equal consumption. Particularly, when some generation is variable in supply, variable timing of availability and variable consumption .
    OK, there are some peak load times, weather events ( causing load variations) and stuff which are “Plannable”., adding in lead times for availability, well, it all calls for Base Power..
    Now the efficiency of Base Power also, all over the place, because of the aforesaid problems ( the list of which, is not endless)

    Where, it seems to have all gone wrong, is that successive governments, Federal, State and those with the clout, have been planning for “Now and the next Election”

    The fragility of power (Governance) is not conducive to Good Governance. To use a somewhat unpleasant analogy, “When some one has hold of your Balls, you may not be making the best decisions”

    Right or wrong, Left or Right, we do need several factors to make this actually work.

    1. A Strong Person, leading a strong Government, who has only the ‘Good of The Country” at heart.
    2. A Person/Government, with the Numbers, The Strength, who is beholden to no-one. Absolutely NO ONE.
    3. A Ministry, of men and women, who are dedicated to the job at hand.
    4. The job at hand for the Ministry, is about building, solving, regulating, taxing for the Good of The country.
    5. Men and women, who are only interested in developing their own bank balance, should be Crucified, Jailed and Forgotten.
    6. Those, anomalous qangos should also be crucified and buried. Cut the Fat, empty the Trough of Right and Indulgence.
    7. A Leader, who, having made a mistake, can say, “Bugger me, cocked up there” and then proceed with Honesty and correct it.

    Mostly, Australian people, have got to start thinking about the country, and not ourselves, our Greed, our Foibles, our Wishes and Petty Desires. Change the thinking, that most of us are “The workers” when in reality, we really have never had it so bloody good., and would not know, what it is like to be hard up, down and out, with having busted your gut trying.

    Spleen vented,
    Mark Needham

  12. economicreform

    If Malcolm has discovered how to make a perpetual motion machine, and how to overturn the law of conservation of energy, then he deserves several Nobel Prizes (the real ones that is, not the fictional ones given to economists).

  13. Mark Needham

    Understanding, not showing your ignorance, ( Or do we knowingly push a barrow of garbage) the principles involved in pumping water back, is all it takes.
    to prove your stupidity, is not required. Sometimes it is better to just be quiet, or use a “Gutless Nom de Plume”.
    Mark Needham

  14. jamesss

    The only original idea I’m waiting on is Malfalse going to the G.G. after spitting the dummy.

  15. Gangey1959

    i’m no A.B.Patterson, but here goes anyway.

    ”There was laughter in the cabinet room
    their polls had just gone up,
    through trumble’s hydro power plan for Aus.
    Although it has it’s sceptics who
    are better at the maths.
    when asked he answers smugly just because.
    I’m prime minister you know and surely
    I’m the man to trust
    when visions grand are called on to unfold.
    I’ll unleash the mighty Murray
    and the Snowy River too
    recycling water just to back up Coal.
    That silly bastard Wetherall
    from South Australia
    has gone with something green and based on Wind.
    And Sun, with batt’ry backup
    and it’s really effing cheap.
    Three months to build. It’s just a mortal sin.
    So my economuppets got their
    crayons out and drew
    me quite a pretty picture, it is one of pure class .
    And I don’t get the physics which some
    say just do not work and as for
    cost I’ve pulled two billion from my arse.
    Now all Ivé got to do is try and
    sell it for the next two
    years until a new election comes along.
    We’ll give you dirt on everything that
    Labor comes up with,
    and Union Bashing ’til the final gong.”

  16. helvityni

    Gangey1959, yours is as good as Annabel’s…

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