The head of CSIRO doesn’t even understand his own GenCost report!

It’s always spin over substance!

1. The Head of the CSIRO is clueless. He clearly only answers questions that suit his narrative and takes everything else on notice. Whatever happened to accountability in answering questions.

2. Why bother turning up to estimates if you aren’t going to bring your subject matter experts – especially in regard to their Cost Gen which is used by useful idiots like Chris Bowen to justify their lies.

3. The CSIRO is misleading the Australian public by overstating the capacity of Windfarms. They have a capacity of 30% not 50%. This understates their costs by 40%.

4. Assuming Nuclear and Coal have an average capacity of 60% is misleading. If allowed to run 24 hours a day without being turned down for solar in the middle of the day their capacity can be 90%.

5. By overstating wind and understating coal/nuclear capacity the way they have coal/nuclear is costed at being 20% more efficient than wind. I.e. 60% over 50% instead of 300% more efficient. I.e. 90% over 30%.

6. The net result of this is that efficiency of baseload power is understated by 15 times in relation to Wind power.

7. Storage costs are completely ignored in costings, especially in regard to locating and building pumped hydro. The CSIRO have no idea where the pumped hydro is going to go.

The Net Zero fantasy is going to destroy this country.

Economics Legislation Committee
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

Senator RENNICK: My questions are in regard to the GenCost report. Is it correct that GenCost assumes there’s no extra cost for storage and transmission lines until renewables hit 60 per cent of the grid?

Dr Hilton: I’ll take that question on notice.

Senator RENNICK: Have you got someone there that can answer it now?

Dr Hilton: No. As I said, our expert on GenCost, Paul Graham, and his direct superior, Peter Mayfield, are both on leave. I’m very happy to take that on notice.

Senator RENNICK: Given that GenCost is the talk of the town at the moment, I’m a little bit surprised that you haven’t got someone here that could provide more information about that.

Dr Hilton: I’m happy to take it on notice.

Senator RENNICK: Okay. Well, it’s going to be very difficult. Next question: is it correct that GenCost assumes a wind capacity of 48 per cent for onshore wind and 52 per cent for offshore wind?

Dr Hilton: I’m very happy to take that question on notice.

Senator RENNICK: You’re going to take that on notice, are you? Are you aware that the average wind capacity for the last five years has been 30 per cent?

Dr Hilton: I’ll take that on notice. I’m not an—

Senator RENNICK: You don’t have to take it on notice; I’m telling you that the average wind capacity for the last five years is 30 per cent and that the GenCost report has a wind capacity for onshore wind of 48 per cent and offshore wind of 52 per cent. Why is it that the CSIRO is overestimating the capacity of wind?

Dr Hilton: I don’t believe that’s the case, and I’m happy to take your detailed questions on the figures and assumptions to Paul Graham, who is the lead author of the report and someone who’s answered questions in quite some detail in this forum previously.

Senator RENNICK: Does the GenCost report include the cost of recycling renewables?

Dr Hilton: Senator, I’m happy to—

Senator RENNICK: Batteries, wind turbines, solar panels—

Dr Hilton: I’m happy to take those detailed questions on notice.

Senator RENNICK: Okay, no worries. Are you aware that the US Department of Energy says that nuclear has the highest capacity factor of any power source and that they’re quoting 92 per cent? I note that you did know that the capacity of nuclear was 53 per cent to 89 per cent in the GenCost report. Why is it that the GenCost report has a much lower capacity factor for nuclear than the US Department of Energy thinks it’s capable of?

Dr Hilton: I’ll make two comments there. The first is that we’re not the United States, we’re not Mongolia, we’re not Mauritius; we’re Australia. The system operates differently. I’d also say that the upper end of that range of 89 per cent is pretty close to 92 per cent. That’s a three per cent difference—

Senator RENNICK: But what’s your average across the whole GenCost report?

Dr Hilton: and 53 per cent to 89 per cent is a range we’ve given. The assumption is that the mean utilisation rate of coal fired generation is 60 per cent and that that would be reasonable in the Australian context for nuclear because the cycle of demand for energy in Australia is very different from that in other countries. I think the Australian community would expect us to model Australia and not the US or Japan or other places where population centres are very different

Senator RENNICK: How is it that you assume coal has a capacity of 60 per cent? That’s only because renewables get first dibs at the grid throughout the middle of the day, isn’t it? Coal generators have a capacity of close to 90 per cent as well, if they’re allowed to run 24 hours a day.

Dr Hilton: That’s probably a question for the market operator.

Senator RENNICK: That’s right. But the historical capacity of coal, prior to renewables, was closer to 90 per cent; that’s correct, isn’t it?

Dr Hilton: My understanding is those mechanisms of generating that are cheapest can bid in at low demand times of the day. There are coal plants that can do that very well, which is why you get the 89 per cent higher estimate. But not all coal plants can do it as cheaply, and that’s why you get the range.

Senator RENNICK: In regard to the amount of storage that’s needed for solar and wind, how much of the proposed—say, for example, solar and wind provide 30 per cent of energy into the grid. How much storage capacity have you got for that 30 per cent?

Dr Hilton: I’ll take that question on notice.

Senator RENNICK: Can you also take this on notice: of that required storage capacity, how much of that storage capacity is batteries versus pumped hydro?

Dr Hilton: I’d be delighted to take that question on notice.

Senator RENNICK: In regard to the pumped hydro capacity factor, or how much pumped hydro you’re going to need to store the energy, can you tell me where those sites are going to be by 2030?

Dr Hilton: I’ll take that on notice.

Senator RENNICK: Can you tell me why you’re aware that nuclear, from the questioning before from Senator O’Neill, has a capacity of 53 to 89 per cent, yet you don’t know the capacity of wind farms?

Dr Hilton: There’s a whole lot of detail in the report, and I’m not across every piece of detail. There are a number that have been discussed widely in public and for which I have been asked a number of questions, and, of course, I’m more familiar with those. I also had the privilege of meeting the shadow minister, and discussed the capacity factor of nuclear, and other issues, with him for an hour or so. I’m more familiar with those things that have been raised with me directly by elected representatives.

Senator RENNICK: But isn’t costing all about relative costs? Surely, if you know the capacity of nuclear you must know the capacity of wind farms as well.

Senator Ayres: Mr Hilton is the CEO of the CSIRO.

Senator RENNICK: Exactly. He should know what’s in GenCost.

Senator Ayres: As he’s indicated, he is not the subject matter expert or the team. He is answering these questions in an appropriately cautious way—that is, making sure what he’s putting into the public domain are facts.

Senator RENNICK: He’s not putting any facts into the public domain. He doesn’t know any of them.

Senator Ayres: He has every right under this process to take questions on notice so that the appropriate person can do it—that is, wild assertions not being made in relation to these important questions around costs and energy. You have been coming to these proceedings for quite some time. I’ve observed questions in detail from you—

Senator RENNICK: Don’t make any personal reflections.

Senator Ayres: very enthusiastically asked about this range of questions, and a range of other boutique areas in terms of the COVID vaccine and all that sort of stuff.

Senator RENNICK: Point of order: that’s a personal reflection.

Senator Ayres: I understand you’ve got an interest in the detail of these—

Senator RENNICK: Point of order: this is filibustering. These guys can’t answer questions.

Senator Ayres: and Dr Hilton will answer questions appropriately, and that’s what he’s doing. I won’t have you trying to belittle the CEO of the CSIRO.





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