Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Another trip down the rabbit hole

By Graham Young - posted Thursday, 7 December 2023

The Australian energy minister's transition policies are like something out of Lewis Carroll's Alice books: it seems the harder Chris Bowen tries to run towards his destination, the further away from it he gets.

Take his newer and harder-running Capacity Investment Scheme (CIS), a development on his original scheme announced in December 2022.

It promises a lot but is likely to be nothing more than a poorly shuffled deck of cards.


The original scheme was to provide 6 gigawatts (GW) of dispatchable renewable power, and the results of the first pilots have just been announced. The first participants in this scheme will be six projects providing 1.075 GW of "reliable capacity" in New South Wales.

The revised plan expands the scheme to 32 GW all-up, with 9 GW of dispatchable capacity and 23 GW of variable capacity. This is meant to meet the government's aim that 82 percent of electricity generation will be renewable by 2030. The numbers sound impressive, but what do they really mean?

Australia currently produces 273,265 gigawatt hours of power every year. Of that, 88,208 GWh is renewable.

To get to 82 percent, the government needs to generate another 135,869 GWh with renewables.

On average that is 15.51 GW every hour.

So, you might be thinking that Mr. Bowen's 32 GW capacity will more than do the trick, in which case you would be wrong.


As is well known by now, the sun doesn't always shine, and the wind doesn't always blow.

If 32 GW were all wind capacity, it would only produce 11.2 GW on average each hour, varying between zero and 32 GW. If it were all solar then the average figure would be 6.4 GW.

In fact, not only will the capacity be a mix of wind and solar, but it also includes 9 GW of batteries. They complicate the picture because they store energy, they don't produce it, and they will need to get that energy from variable sources, further reducing their capacity utilisation.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. All

This article was first published by the Epoch Times.

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

37 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Graham Young is chief editor and the publisher of On Line Opinion. He is executive director of the Australian Institute for Progress, an Australian think tank based in Brisbane, and the publisher of On Line Opinion.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Graham Young

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Graham Young
Article Tools
Comment 37 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy