The Case of Remarkable Innovation and a Trumpian Prime Minister
In an electronic system, the inverter is a device that changes direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). In the context of politics, politicians all too often also act as inverters – only, in this case, inverting the truth to reconcile their flawed ideology or to satisfy their corporate donors. This occurs all too often on the far-right of the political spectrum, where counter-factual assertions are the norm and appeasing fossil fuel interests is at the top of their agenda. At this point in time, there is no better description for this phenomenon than Trumpism. Unfortunately for Australians, recent right-of-centre prime ministers (we have a revolving door of leaders Down Under, it seems) have picked up this baton and are running with it. The scientific fact of anthropogenic climate change is called into question and effective and efficient renewable energy solutions are broadly disregarded in favour of established, polluting incumbents.
Let’s examine one stark example from South Australia - the Tesla battery installation.
The state of South Australia is a renewable energy leader. As of 2015, 34% of the state’s electricity was generated from wind power (Clean Energy Council, 2018). One challenge with renewables is, of course, that some types are susceptible to significant fluctuation. Regulation and storage at a large scale is the answer. This was provided by Tesla in late 2017, when “the world’s largest battery” was brought online. The effort was mocked by right-wing luddite and certifiable Trumpian Scott Morrison (now Australia’s Prime Minister, to our shame). In a terrifically ignorant verbal flourish, he said:
"By all means, have the world's biggest battery. Have the world's biggest banana. Have the world's biggest prawn. Like we have along the highways, along the roadside, across the country. But: that's not solving the problem."
Now in operation for well over six months, here are the facts:
The installation has played a key role in stabilising the energy grid;
It is remarkably more flexible in responding to network supply conditions than existing technology, with unprecedented speed and precision;
It stabilises the national grid at a lower cost than any methods before it;
In underpinning renewable energy supply, it has fortified the more than 1000 jobs in South Australia’s renewable energy sector alone (much more than coal-fired power plants); and,
It has reduced the cost of power outages in South Australia by over 90%.
(Source: Australian Energy Market Operator, 2018; Clean Energy Council, 2018; Independent, 2018)
Facts are stubborn things, impervious to regressive, truth-challenged politicians. The future is renewable and clean – as long as we value evidence and call out the Trumpians for their misdirection and lies.
As for Scott Morrison, while not the world's biggest banana or prawn, he has demonstrated himself to be in contention for being the world's biggest... [something best left to the imagination]
ABC News (Australia) - http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-09/sa-biggest-wind-farm-nears-completion/5510936
Australian Energy Market Operator - https://www.aemo.com.au
Business Insider - https://www.businessinsider.com.au/everything-you-need-to-know-about-teslas-new-giant-battery-in-australia-2017-7
Clean Energy Council - https://www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au/policy-advocacy/reports/clean-energy-australia-report.html
Independent, The - https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/australasia/tesla-giant-battery-south-australia-reduce-cost-power-outage-backup-system-fcas-a8348431.html