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The Finkel Review isn’t bad … it’s weak.

By John Barker

Put Trump and May aside for 10 minutes. It’s what is happening in the Great Southern Land that’s making me cross.

Twinkle, Finkel – you’re not a star. What to make of the “Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market” (NEM), Chaired by the Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel.

I turn to the Bard for guidance:

This is the excellent foppery of the world, that when we are sick in fortune—often the surfeits of our own behavior—we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and stars, as if we were villains on necessity, fools by heavenly compulsion, knaves, thieves, and treachers by spherical predominance… I should have been that I am, had the maidenl’est star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing (King Lear).

I have been involved in the “energy futures debate” for almost half a century. Over that time, the four guiding stars of clean, renewable energy have inexorably moved into conjunction: the science, the technology, the markets and community understanding.

But, over that half-century, the incumbent suppliers of energy – the coal-diggers, the oil-drillers, and the electricity supply organisations – have resisted at every step; denying the problem, deriding the technology and besmirching the “renewalists”, who have been depicted, essentially, as enemies of the State … “greenies, hippies, idealists, communists”.

As the science of both solar energy and climate change became irrefutable, the “Carbonistas” shifted their attack to the nature of the emerging technologies – they were “unreliable” – and their role was to “provide reliable energy to the whole community at the lowest cost”.

But as the cost of renewables has inexorably and dramatically declined, the emphasis of resistance has focused on “reliability”. But, consonant with the zeitgeist, the language has shifted from “reliability” to “security”. In these dangerous times, you can never have too much “security”.

“Security” has become a quixotic quest, as though every wind generator were a giant, a monster attacking the “security” of our society’s stable and benign power stations.

But we know that our power stations are neither stable or benign. Indeed, they are fairly stable, but who has not experienced a brown-out or black-out due to a storm or some poor soul ramming him or her self into a suburban power pole, or restrictions due to over-use of air conditioners in a heat wave? Yes, the lights went off and the fridge started to defrost … but we survived it.

Most people in the east of Australia probably don’t know that Western Australia tried to address the “energy (ie electricity) security” problem after a heat wave in 2002 led to electricity restrictions and defrosting of supermarket freezers. A massive over-supply of generating capacity ensued, culminating in a massive subsidy (about $0.5 billion/year) to keep electricity prices at about the national average of 25c/kWh. Un-subsidised, the price would be more like 35c. And the oversupply is reducing the WA Government’s ability to support renewables.

I think that the Finkel Review will lead to a similar situation in the Eastern States’ NEM; higher prices in the name of “security”. And, no doubt, a subdued pursuit of renewables and climate change mitigation.

The simple facts are that solar and wind are cheaper than carbon-power – and getting cheaper – and that their impact on reliability and security at present are minimal; they are at the 5% level, but growing. Of course, we need to plan for change, but change will be in terms of decades, not days. Increasingly, energy-intensive industry is finding that there is greater security and reliability and economy available in renewables, rather than coal, diesel or gas.

Renewable energy technologies are following the same dynamic as most “disruptive” technologies. They start out to solve an existing problem, but, with time, they create new possibilities that re-define the problem. For example, a friend of mine has developed a PV-powered water heater that will deliver hot water at a cost of less than 5c/kWh and last for 30 years. It is about 3-4 years away from large-scale production. Hot water becomes the “battery” for PV electricity. Other examples abound.

The basic problem is that governments – both State and Federal – are forced into being subservient to sectional and private interests, rather than serving the public interest by using the “common-wealth” of public financing and public information. Change is difficult if your “loyalty” (to use a Trumpism) isn’t to the “truth” ( to use a Comeyism).

In summary, the Finkel Review isn’t bad … it’s weak. It’s just that, if, as Turnbull and Shorten hope, it takes the energy debate off the table, it will lock in the status quo, leaving us all poorer and therefore less secure.

We can’t blame Finkel for this. He’s very bright and trying to preserve what little respect there is left for scientific opinion in this dull-witted, lawyer-dominated political environment. Remember, we elected them.

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars
But in ourselves, that we are underlings …” (Julius Caesar).


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  1. Freethinker

    The question is: have we the luxury of setting for weak solutions that are going to be short of the Paris agreement?
    Are we go along with the idea of few in the ALP that “good enough” it is better than nothing?
    IMHO we need political courage and will to go for stronger solutions, time is running out.

  2. Glenn Barry

    Given that the ALP has proposed something which may be positive, Malcolm will do the opposite, pundits can blame the back bench, but when it comes down to it, Malcolm a craven simpering sycophant.
    Malcolm couldn’t back a winning horse if he tried, so don’t expect anything sensible from him anytime soon

  3. Jaquix

    Finckel review hobbled by terms of reference to only look at “security and reliability”. Not worth much, except let Turnbull look like he’s doing something, but actually just promoting coal yet again.

  4. helvityni

    I don’t expect anything from Malcolm, not on the Republic, Climate Change, NBN, SS marriage, civil behaviour, (no sniping a la Abbott= a promise), asylum seekers, pensions, healthcare, infra structure, education, jobs….

    If you take Labor’s policies then at least commit to financing them fully, don’t just use the name..(Gonski).

  5. Michael Taylor

    You can add housing affordability to that, helvityni.

  6. Hettie Lynch

    The stability and security of power supply, not to mention affordability, are currently grossly distorted by the market regulations.
    A farreaching overhaul there would do more to bring power prices down immediately than tinkering with the means of production.
    Both need attention.
    The current rules give huge and completely indefensible advantages to fossil fuels, especially gas, which their owners are fighting desperately to defend. Too late , guys. You’ve had your turn. It is all complicated, and I don’t pretend to understand the detail, but I do know that changing from a 30 minute settlement period to a five minute settlement period would prevent the obscene price spikes engineered by the gas generators at times of peak load. Sometimes to $16.00 per kwh or even higher. At the same time, householders are being paid just 6 cents a kwh for solar power exported to the grid
    Overall wholesale prices, then retail prices, would be drastically reduced.
    Fairness dictates thet if peak load power is worth a given figure, all suppliers including householders should be paid the same.
    So adjusting market rules is a first, immediate step.
    It is patently obvious that the cost of gas and coal must rise. As the power plants which use them age, maintenance costs also rise.
    At the same time, the capital costs of wind, solar and batteries are falling sharply. Fuel costs are , and will remain zero. Maintenance costs are negligible.
    Already, new renewables with storage provide electricity that costs less per kwh than *existing * coal and gas.
    Therefore, if free of government interference, market forces dictate that there will be no new coal and very little new gas generating capacity built. No bank would finance it.
    Now add a clean energy target that insists new generation must produce less than not 700 or 600 grams of carbon per Mwh, but only 500 gm.
    Game over for the fossils.
    Finkel has taken 200 pages to say pretty much this .
    The fossil fools will weep and wail and gnash their teeth, but them’s the breaks. Industries rise and flourish, then they change or decline and die.
    One could just wish that the proponents of climate destroying fossil fuels would recognise that survival ranks higher than profit in the hierarchy of needs. Especially when continuation of those profits is debateable .

  7. Harquebus

    EROEI not mentioned once as is usual for renewable energy advocates. The author is another who doesn’t have a clue and is misleading others.

    “high investment in intermittent renewables can [be] expected to drive economies that build them toward collapse more quickly, because of their high front-end investment capital requirements and low short-term returns.”

    Limits to Growth–At our doorstep, but not recognized

    “Renewable energy sources are often advocated for their low CO2 emissions at point of use, but the overall product lifecycle is often forgotten about completely. In addition, many chemical products are needed in mining operations, leading to severe long-term pollution.”

    Is renewable energy really environmentally friendly?

    “in other words, if there were only ‘green’ sources of electricity, there would be no grid.”

    Absolution, Deceit and Renewables

    “However, a more critical analysis shows that the cumulative energy and CO2 balance of the industry is negative, meaning that solar PV has actually increased energy use and greenhouse gas emissions instead of lowering them.”

    “new Green technologies designed to save humanity from CO2 may kill humanity through energy starvation”
    “The greatest risk to human society today is the notion that we can somehow replace high ERoEI fossil fuels with new renewable energies like solar PV and biofuels.”

    ERoEI for Beginners

    “Unfortunately EROI calculations tend to be slippery because they depend upon system boundaries. Draw a close boundary around an energy production system and you are likely to arrive at a higher EROI calculation; draw a wide boundary, and the EROI ratio will be lower. That’s why some EROI calculations for solar PV are in the range of 20:1 while others are closer to 2:1. That’s a very wide divergence, with enormous practical implications.”

    Juggling Live Hand Grenades

    “Whenever somebody with a decent grasp of maths and physics looks into the idea of a fully renewables-powered civilised future for the human race with a reasonably open mind, they normally come to the conclusion that it simply isn’t feasible.”



  8. Kaye Lee

    Could I point out that the Coalition government is adding 10% to every power bill through their decision to not consider power an essential item and hence charge GST on it. They could significantly cut our bills tomorrow by treating it the same as fresh food.
    Condoms don’t have GST but power does. Go figure.

  9. paulwalter

    The Finkel stinkels. Nowhere is the mention of the true elephant in the room, the structure of the (privatised) system in this country.
    Basically it is along the lines of what the SA government did after complaining loudly. Didnt get the privatised system fixed, just added half a billion to public debt for a new gas generator. The system is designed to bleed the consumer to pay for a raft of paper shufflers and hangers on rationing what should be an non-existant problem, power, should things have been done rationally this century.

    It’s like housing. There is a solution, but vested interests and morons like Joyce and Abbott most of all, have stood in the way, for the benefit of a few gangstas here and offshore.

  10. Matters Not

    As the Chief Scientist, Finkel prostituted the position. Scientists aren’t there to solve policy problems in a democracy. The role of scientists is to identify ‘problems’ and what outcomes are necessary to address same. In brief, this problem is one of excessive emissions. The necessary ‘outcome’ is a reduction in same. At that point, Finkel’s role as Chief Scientist was all over. His role was complete. Game, set and match. No ‘politics’ just ‘science’. Pure and simple.

    Yet, we witness Finkel being ‘bought off’. His admission that the government of the day wouldn’t accept some recommendations because they were politically unpalatable. One must conclude that Finkel (in this exercise) is nothing but a political pawn. He has demeaned the role of the Chief Scientist. Effing sad.

    Finkel’s position and that of the Chief Scientist have been badly damaged.

  11. helvityni

    Is this simply about the two men wanting to keep their jobs…all too depressing.

  12. Peter F

    All their efforts to delay the transition will come to nothing – google ‘clean disruption’ and see what Tony Serco said around 15 months ago. Events have already moved ahead of his expectations. . . . . ( I deliberately did NOT use the word ‘predictions’ )

  13. king1394

    EROEI and EROI are the most irritating of acronyms. They don’t even look like anything. Please expand Harquebus

  14. Harquebus

    Energy Returned on Energy Invested
    I will bet that the author has never heard of it.

  15. Kaye Lee

    Anyone who reads this blog has had your endless EROEI shoved down their throat. Despite having been shown countless times that your information is out of date, or incorrect, you just repeat the same line over and over and over…..

    A recent paper by Ferroni and Hopkirk (2016) asserts that the ERoEI (also referred to as EROI) of photovoltaic (PV) systems is so low that they actually act as net energy sinks, rather than delivering energy to society. Such claim, if accurate, would call into question many energy investment decisions. In the same paper, a comparison is also drawn between PV and nuclear electricity. We have carefully analysed this paper, and found methodological inconsistencies and calculation errors that, in combination, render its conclusions not scientifically sound. Ferroni and Hopkirk adopt ‘extended’ boundaries for their analysis of PV without acknowledging that such choice of boundaries makes their results incompatible with those for all other technologies that have been analysed using more conventional boundaries, including nuclear energy with which the authors engage in multiple inconsistent comparisons. In addition, they use out-dated information, make invalid assumptions on PV specifications and other key parameters, and conduct calculation errors, including double counting. We herein provide revised EROI calculations for PV electricity in Switzerland, adopting both conventional and ‘extended’ system boundaries, to contrast with their results, which points to an order-of-magnitude underestimate of the EROI of PV in Switzerland by Ferroni and Hopkirk.

    Our revised EROI and EROIEXT values for PV systems in Switzerland, calculated according to the formula adopted by Ferroni and Hopkirk (i.e., as the ratio of the total electrical output to the ‘equivalent electrical energy’ investment), but based on the arguments and numbers presented in this paper are, respectively, EROI≈9–10 (when adhering to widely adopted ‘conventional’ system boundaries as recommended by the IEA (Raugei et al., 2016)) and EROIEXT≈7–8 (when instead adopting ‘extended’ system boundaries that also include the energy investments for service inputs such as ‘project management’ and insurance). It is especially noteworthy that even the latter EROIEXT range is one order of magnitude higher than 0.8 which was obtained by Ferroni and Hopkirk.


  16. Kaye Lee

    You are also very very selective about the sentences you include as quotes. For example, the low-tech magazine link that you quote goes on to say…..

    By carefully selecting the location of both manufacturing and installation, the potential of solar power could be huge.

    According to these numbers, electricity generated by photovoltaic systems is 15 times less carbon-intensive than electricity generated by a natural gas plant (450 gCO2e/kWh), and at least 30 times less carbon-intensive than electricity generated by a coal plant (+1,000 gCO2e/kWh). The most-cited energy payback times (EPBT) for solar PV systems are between one and two years. It seems that photovoltaic power, around since the 1970s, is finally ready to take over the role of fossil fuels.

    Which gives a very different story to the one sentence you included.

    That is terribly dishonest of you.

  17. freefall852

    My experiences with solar power are more of the pragmatic kind..Facing a bill of $14,000 for the cost of two stobie poles and bringing transmission half a kilometer from the last supply on the line back in 1985, I decided to go solar..At a cost of circa $1700. for two BP solar panels, a DIY assembly inverter and a couple of BIG tractor batteries, coupled with my back-up tradie generator, I went solo for as long as we lived in that house ..approx 7yrs…In summer I had a surplus which I offered to sell to a couple of locals when they had the regular / inevitable mains power outages…In winter, it was more of a struggle with the generator being used more often…but that was the very early days of solar energy technology…the system we have now pumps out the power like a thermo nuclear reaction!….Man!..soldering that inverter together was something else!

  18. Harquebus

    Kaye Lee

    What’s the matter? Don’t like your delusions being shattered by reality? I have read critiques of Ferroni and Hopkirk including the link that you have posted and they are wrong. Ugo Bardi, one of the authors, is the most biased of them all when promoting these inefficient devices and I have clashed with him before.

    Here is a link to the original. Read it and make up your own mind as I did.

    “despite a string of optimistic choices resulting in low values of energy investments, the ERoEI is significantly below 1. In other words, an electrical supply system based on today’s PV technologies cannot be termed an energy source, but rather a non-sustainable energy sink or a non-sustainable NET ENERGY LOSS.”

    Here is Ugo’s site. Apart from his stance on renewable energy, I pretty much agree with him.

    I had the same argument with this person for years until, I challenged him to question his physics student son on EROEI. We are now in agreement.

    DTM also has been kind enough to reproduce a couple of my emails so, I invite you and all to have a look and see what I am about.
    Jobs and growth
    More Harquebus………

    My email address is included in the last links for those that would like to join my mailing list.

    Here is an article that I just read this morning.

    “Thus even 250,000 MW of power installed in photovoltaic plants will generate no more electricity than 60,000 MW generated by conventional power plants today.”

    When governments dream of electric cars

    “By carefully selecting the location of both manufacturing and installation, the potential of solar power could be huge.”
    Not the word “could”. When it is “will” then, I will take notice. I have read too many potentials of which none have come to fruition so, I am sure that you will understand if I don’t get too excited over it. It also implies that solar Pv will be limited.

    As for being selective in my excerpts, I plead guilty as charged although, I wouldn’t call it being dishonest. The aim is to spark interest in the hope that some will read it.
    Thank you for doing so.

    For the record: I say again that I am not a fossil fuel advocate. There is only one viable solution which humanity is not prepared to instigate and that is, population reduction and control.
    No matter, nature will do it for us in her usual brutal and unforgiving ways.


  19. Michael Taylor

    The author is another who doesn’t have a clue and is misleading others.

    Can we please stop that? The author submitted this post to be published at my encouragement. You have been encouraged to do the same recently, but you haven’t, preferring instead to snipe at other people who do.

    Nothing deters a person from expressing an opinion via an article than to be continually belittled. By all means, criticise the message if you don’t agree with it, but please stop criticising the messenger. I will not tolerate it.

  20. Michael Taylor

    Harquebus, after being asked to stop belittling the authors you immediately posted a pathetic insult to the author. The comment has been deleted and you have been placed in moderation. Please discuss the topic, or discuss nothing at all.

  21. Michael Taylor

    Harquebus, the comment of yours that was awaiting moderation, I’m afraid to say, contained nothing but abuse to the author. It didn’t pass the test, and was deleted.

    I will tell you something: running this site takes every last cent off me. One of the ‘secrets’ of its survival is the great pool of writers we have, and the many people who submit articles too. Without the writers, I don’t have The AIMN.

    I lose writers because they are sick of the personal attack. I will not let you continue with personal attacks. Period.

    I refuse to let you destroy something that has cost me (and other people) so much in time any money. I am humbled that we have thousands of readers a day who enjoy our articles and who get much pleasure from The AIMN. This ‘war’ you keep going on about (in your deleted comments, for example) is a war you can fight without us. We have our own priorities. This site does not – I repeat, DOES NOT – exist purely for you.

  22. Kaye Lee

    I assume you are aware that Ferroni has skin in the game. He holds patents for equipment used in nuclear energy. He also added his name to a letter in 2010 challenging AGW.


    And here is another detailed ripping apart of Ferroni’s rubbish by Maury Markowitz

    Another Failure of Scientific Peer-Review: a Completely Wrong Paper on the Energy Return of Photovoltaic Energy

    I have looked at Ferroni’s paper on the previous thousand occasions you have brought it up. For starters, I do not believe you read it because it is, in the main, unintelligible. The peer reviews by those capable of following his goobledygook are scathing.

    And you fail to address the point of my comment that you often misrepresent the conclusions drawn by quoting a sentence out of context. You also have absolutely no concern about the credibility of your sources.

    And why the hell I am wasting my time in engaging with you is beyond me. You have shown yourself incapable of learning and unwilling to accept anything that doesn’t fit your indelibly ingrained and never changing mantras.

    Slaps self and moves on.

  23. Harquebus

    Michael Taylor
    Advocating and following the renewable dream that it is, will cost you a lot more.
    I appreciate you allowing my other comments to stand.

    Kaye Lee.
    You didn’t understand it? Gosh, what a surpise. Don’t worry, I did.
    The problems remain the same, the only viable solution remains the same and the barriers to implementing the solution, those immoveable objects such as yourself, continue to refuse to budge.


  24. Andreas Bimba

    A good article and good comments and thanks again Kaye for clarifying Harquebus’s misconceptions.

    The Conservatives and to a lesser extent Labor disproportionately serve the corporate sector, vested interests and their own pockets rather than the best interests of their electorates or the Australian people. The political game, the appalling mass media and our fragile democracy have been corrupted and stolen from our hands.

    Fix our democratic system or we won’t have any worthy progress in any area.

  25. Vikingduk

    So, harquebus, how are we to initiate your final solution? Will we have licensed shooters culling the excess population? Mandatory death once an individual’s working life is done? A lottery? An indiscriminate pandemic? A race specific virus? All done in the dark, of course. After all, you say renewables bad, fossil fuel bad, doesn’t seem to leave much left for power generation.

    But, of course, the final solution fixes all according to you.

    Harquebus, what about it? Take up Michael Taylor’s offer, give us an article clarifying your position. Stop insulting those who have taken the time and energy to present an article, those that have commented on articles and put up or shut the f*ck up.

    Presenting yourself as an arrogant smart arse does you no favours, gives you no credibility, in fact is becoming a complete turnoff.

    Certainly for me your insulting comments are giving me the shits, so, please explain your final solution manifesto, how it will work and the great electricity free future that awaits us when the cull is done.

  26. Harquebus

    A global one child policy might not be enough however, something of this nature must be implemented yesterday. If we do nothing, it will happen in a terrible way. Is this what you want?

    You must not have seen this. I try not to push it but, since you asked.

    Depopulate . . . or perish

    “Mother nature is just chemistry, biology and physics. That’s all she is. You cannot sweet-talk her. You cannot spin her. You cannot tell her that the oil companies say climate change is a hoax. No, Mother Nature is going to do whatever chemistry, biology and physics dictate. Mother nature always bats last, and she always bats 1,000.” — Robert K. Watson

    That’s all I’m gonna say because, I’ve been told; “discuss the topic, or discuss nothing at all.”


  27. Vikingduk

    I fail to see how a one child policy will address the more immediate problem of out of control climate change. So, are you advocating a final solution? Will you address the other questions? You’ve ignored Michael Taylor many times, why change now?

    Hound wants out whales off the starboard bow. Prost.

  28. Pete Petrass

    Seems to me the coal and gas energy markets, like the arab oil sheiks, are just holding the public to ransom. Like the arabs they seem to just put energy prices up or down on a whim. Here in Canberra we have already been told for 2017-18 increases have been approved at 19% and 18% for electricity and gas respectively. I am reading about the possibility of 30% in NSW. And this is despite all the solar farms being installed in Canberra, on top of the 10% or so increases over the last 5 years or so and now we have to swallow 19% in a single hit???
    Perhaps someone from the press can publicly ask Trumble or Frydenberg to explain why electricity prices have skyrocketed since they repealed the carbon tax (that was never actually a carbon tax)? They did promise big price reductions because of it after all.

  29. Harquebus

    If you browse the comments in theAIMN link that I previously posted, you will see my answers there. If not, ask the question on that page and I will respond.

  30. diannaart

    I see a future pattern of milking the last cent out of fossil fuels by the ‘carbonistas’ (love that term). But that is only half the battle, the next offering from the mining sect (and it is a type of ‘sect’) will be the implementation of nuclear.

    What nuclear and fossil fuels have in common is energy can only be implemented on a large scale grid system. This is easier for vested interests to maintain control and still keep turning a profit.

    Renewables can be implemented over the small scale (individual houses, streets, towns, factories, hospitals) which is harder to monopolise – profits from this energy source are spread further around. The fact that these systems are cleaner for our environment is almost incidental, renewables are the Big Bad for traditional energy systems. No wonder they’re lying through their teeth.

    If we manage to survive the fight and not heat up the climate beyond conditions survivable for the existing flora and fauna (we humans are part of fauna as well), both fossil fuels and nuclear will eventually be phased out. I wish we did not have to go through all that and could simply transition immediately to sustainable energy sources. Some parts of the world will transition directly – even states within the USA have declared themselves in defiance to the orange baby in the oval crib. Maybe this will be enough to prevent cataclysmic environmental change. Maybe not.

    One thing I hope for (apart from surviving this great change we have to have) is that those who opposed, every step of the way, the transition and implementation of sustainable energy, be held to account – all CEO’s, political leaders and others who have deliberately lied and obfuscated against change, be charged for crimes against the planet.

  31. Harquebus

    So long as we have an oil based transport system, the implementation of solar and wind energy devices is possible. When we don’t, the implementation will cease and the maintenance legacy left behind for all infrastructure will not be fulfilled. All will eventually crumble or lay idle and useless.

    As time progresses, more and more energy will be devoted to, as is happening now, energy extraction and production resulting in less energy going to the general economy which, is also happening now and is manifesting itself as low to no growth, stagnant wages, mountainous debts, permanent low interest rates and currency creation.

    “Australian ABC TV selectively quotes BP to match its own “no worries” narrative”

    Australian ABC TV selectively quotes BP to match its own “no worries” narrative

    “China is now at the point where enormous new debt is required to achieve only modest new growth. This is clearly non-sustainable.”


  32. jedbarker

    Dear Harquebus- I you are referring to me as “the Author”, above, I could refer you to 2detailed papers that I have written on EREI, or ” net energy analysis”, as I would prefer to cal it. See http://www.thepicketline.net/energy-stuff.html.

  33. darrel nay

    There was a time when all Australians understood that China’s one-child policy was a disgusting operation in social engineering.

    It’s funny that for all the people who suggest a version of population control, none of them ever volunteer to be the first to die.

    The more the merrier

  34. Harquebus


    Thanks for that and I will check them out. For someone who claims to have an understanding of this concept and has a PhD in Science Dynamics, I am gob smacked that you can come up with a rubbish statement like this.
    “The simple facts are that solar and wind are cheaper than carbon-power – and getting cheaper”

    They are not getting cheaper. The costs have been externalized and it is the Chinese environment and slave labour that are now paying the price. Using currency which, can be created at will, to calculate the benefit of energy production which, can not, is a fundamental mistake on your part.

    The arguments that I have had in this forum so far have revolved around the scope and where the boundaries of “net energy analyses” should be. I will be interested to see how much energy you include on the investment side.

    Here is a quote from a comment that I posted this morning which, if you are interested, also includes the source:

    “Unfortunately EROI calculations tend to be slippery because they depend upon system boundaries. Draw a close boundary around an energy production system and you are likely to arrive at a higher EROI calculation; draw a wide boundary, and the EROI ratio will be lower. That’s why some EROI calculations for solar PV are in the range of 20:1 while others are closer to 2:1. That’s a very wide divergence, with enormous practical implications.”

    The devices that you advocate will not power our existing economy let alone grow it and pay off debt. Neither will fossil fuels for that matter. A decaying then collapsing economy will destroy the renewable energy industry along with many others dependent on cheap and plentiful energy.

    Renewable energy will not power this industry. How will we survive without it?
    For Civilization: This Is Necessary (Life Feeds On Life) 3 minutes.

    Your advocating of these inefficient and soon to be useless devices only encourages delaying doing what is required. You are not helping at all.

    “Reckless dumping of industrial waste is everywhere in China. But what caught the attention of The Washington Post was that the Luoyang Zhonggui High-Technology Company was a “green energy” company producing polysilicon destined for solar energy panels sold around the world.”
    “Polysilicon production produces about four tons of silicon tetrachloride liquid waste for every ton of polysilicon produced.”
    “China’s rise has come at a horrific social and environmental cost.”

    “Windmills are too dependent on oil, from mining and fabrication to delivery and maintenance and fail the test of “can they reproduce themselves with wind power?””
    “Not only would windmills have to generate enough power to reproduce themselves, but they have to make enough power to run civilization.”
    “If the energy costs of intermittency, back-up conventional plant, and grid connection were added to the “cost” of windfarms, the EROEI would be far lower than current EROEI studies show.”

    “Manufacturing wind turbines is a resource-intensive process. A typical wind turbine contains more than 8,000 different components, many of which are made from steel, cast iron, and concrete.
    One such component are magnets made from neodymium and dysprosium, rare earth minerals mined almost exclusively in China, which controls 95 percent of the world’s supply of rare earth minerals.”
    “There’s not one step of the rare earth mining process that is not disastrous for the environment.”

    Big Wind’s Dirty Little Secret: Toxic Lakes and Radioactive Waste


    Search criteria: when the trucks stop running

    Note: It is not up to renewable energy detractors to prove that they will not produce a useful energy surplus, it is up to the advocates to prove that they can and so far, no one has.


  35. Florence nee Fedup

    Renewals will replace coal. The same as the cotton mills replace cottage industries. Same as cars replaced horses. No one can stop it. Yes, can make it more expensive but is quickly gaining a life of it’s own.

  36. Freethinker

    Harquebus, why you insist in insulting or denigrating the article authors or fellow bloggers comments?
    Your comments in this site are not making any contribution, on the contrary are negative and no constructive.
    If you are not capable of participate in a debate with respect and in educate manner will be better for the site if you go.
    You are lucky that I am not moderate this site, other ways you will be out.

  37. darrel nay

    Are you really a freethinker or are you a censor/totalitarian?

  38. Michael Taylor

    Jed, I apologise for the insults you have had to endure from Harquebus. Your skills, qualifications, and studies are respected by most people here.

    And I agree with what Freethinker said.

  39. Freethinker

    darrel nay, I will leave it to the AIMN to reply to your question.

  40. darrel nay

    Australia was built with the attitude that ‘ sticks and stones can break your bones, but names will NEVER hurt you ‘. Now there seems to be too many snowflakes that live by the motto that ‘ sticks and stones can break your bones and names can hurt you too ‘.


  41. Matters Not

    Harquebus, why do you keep reading – in search of new insights and the like – when you already claim to know it all.? Why go on? Why self flagellate? Is it for sexual gratification? Then why not the whip, the lash, the birch, the strap, the belt, the cane, or even the horsewhip? Rather than endless doomsday links?

    Or is it the case, that having established the truth beyond all question and doubt, you are now on a religious crusade?

    You know – all people should just accept the truth as established by Harquebus. Is it the new RELIGION. Yes I know you’re not into religion. LOL

    As a matter of interest, when (how long ago) did you decide the world would end yesterday? Perhaps you might provide a few links for the historical record? And if not, then why not? Nothing to hide?

  42. Michael Taylor

    Are you really a freethinker or are you a censor/totalitarian?

    Freethinker is welcome here. I appreciate his efforts.

  43. Harquebus

    I rarely denigrate other commenters however, the authors are fair game when their articles, as this one does, contributes to the hastening disintegration of our civilization by offering the false hope of renewable technology.

    If I go, nothing changes. If I stay, I might yet convince a few. Either way, theAIMN’s days are numbered. Michael struggles now, there is no way that he will be able to continue as energy constraints will continue to bite into all aspect of the economy and society.

    Michael Taylor
    jedbarker, from his brief comment, appears to be able to take care of himself. How about letting him answer my criticisms?
    Will you apologize to all those who believe in you and your site when, the renewable dream is exposed for what it is and the stark reality of what we are really about to endure appears? Will you regret not having done anything to prevent it when, you had a last chance to try which, is now?


  44. Michael Taylor

    Are you trying to make me feel threatened, Harquebus?

    Why should I apologise to the readers of this site? What sort of pathetic comment is that? Our articles are read by 10,000 readers a day. Nobody forces them to come here – they come here by choice. And they don’t come here to read what you have to say.

    If you think you’re going to turn this site into platform for your continuous threats then you have another thing coming.

    Consider this your last warning.

  45. Harquebus

    Matters Not.
    1993 was when I came to the realization that our path was unsustainable. In 2007, I learned that depletion would crash our civilization if we did nothing to curb growth and consumption and I warned about an imminent crash which, did come. Earlier this year, I came to conclusion that all is lost and that salvage is the best one can hope for.

    This is the statement that caused my change in attitude:
    “Whilst total global oil (all liquids) production currently appears to be still growing slowly, the energy required by the global oil industry is growing faster, and the net energy available for work by the end user is decreasing rapidly.”

    Now I am warning again of an imminent crash and it is all to do with energy constraints, resource depletion, excess populations and per capita consumption, fiat currency and theft through inflation. It will be game over for the growth economy and all that it supports including renewable energy, jobs, debt repayment and government services.


  46. Matters Not

    Harquebus please explain when you became religious? When you decided that ‘faith’ (in all its forms) became your guiding light? When your claimed your rationality was (supposedly) far superior to any competing claims? When science with its emphasis on tentative conclusions was abandoned? And faith with all its absolutism was adopted?

    Perhaps a flash of lightning? An accidental or intended hit on the head? When? How? Why?

    It’s a state of mind I want to avoid at all costs.

    PS, I just noted your post above. I will address soon.

  47. Harquebus

    Michael Taylor
    You are jumping to conclusions. I have not and would never threaten anyone and I resent the insinuation.
    I don’t think that theAIMN and a lot of other sites will survive the coming transition. Nothing personal. The only criticism I have is that, you aren’t doing enough to cushion to blow but, hey, that’s your decision.

  48. Michael Taylor

    Yes, it’s my decision. I do what the majority want. And btw, I’m just the face of this place – there are more owners than me alone. And I think we do a fairly good job. Ninety percent agree. You just don’t happen to be one of them.

  49. Matters Not

    Harquebus if I may selectively summarise with an attempt to evaluate your epistemological position :

    came to the realization … learned that … came to conclusion … caused my change … I am warning again …

    While I respect your right to ‘know’ as you see fit. And your right to construct a personal ‘reality’ (sort of impossible to do otherwise) I have great difficulty with your obsession to impose your constructions on us other mere mortals. It’s absolutist. It’s anti scientific. It’s immoral. It’s totalitarian. And on his site at least is just Harquebus. And for me that’s a pejorative description I would hate.

    But given that you know it all, it won’t come as a surprise. Will it?

  50. Harquebus

    Michael Taylor
    “Ninety percent agree. You just don’t happen to be one of them.” Ain’t that the truth.
    You and the other 90% are in for some serious shocks. At least I am somewhat prepared. Are you?

    Matters Not
    This is a forum for expressing opinions and ideas. I would like to inject more science and maths into my comments but, as I have found out, very few can comprehend so, simple and persistent it is.
    “your obsession to impose your constructions on us other mere mortals”. Wrong. My comments are no more an imposition than anyone elses. Yes, I am in the minority and consistent with my views and opinions but, that does not mean that I am wrong and is not a valid reason to change them. Considering the current state of our world and its continuing and accelerating destruction, I put it to you that it is the majority that needs to change theirs.

    If you would refer to my comment at June 11, 2017 at 11:03 am you will see links to a couple of my emails. I invite you to read them and join my mailing list. You will see what others like me are saying.
    My email address is included at the bottom of each.

    “While apocalyptic beliefs about the end of the world have, historically, been the subject of religious speculation, they are increasingly common among some of the leading scientists today. This is a worrisome fact, given that science is based not on faith and private revelation, but on observation and empirical evidence.”
    “Furthermore, studies suggest that civilization will have to produce more food in the next 50 years than in all of human history, which stretches back some 200,000 years into the Pleistocene epoch.”


  51. Michael Taylor

    Harquebus, I really don’t know why we are having this debate.

    I don’t like the way news.com is run but instead of posting comments on the site a dozen times a day telling them so, I started my own site (with the help of others).

    Please, H’, I really am getting bored with you continually telling me I’m doing a bad job. I’m so over it.

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