Another flimflam academic

Caption: At least this magnificent red kite wasn’t killed by one of those nasty coal power stations

You know, I do feel a bit guilty about sticking the boots into Tim Flannery. I was acquainted with him many years ago, and he is in fact quite a likeable fellow and a brilliant scientist in his field. Unfortunately, like many academics (and journalists), he is prone to the delusion that he’s some kind of all-purpose expert.

As an audience member on Q and A once said, “So now you’re an expert on energy policy: what are you going to be an expert on, next?”

But Flannery is not alone in his delusions of academic grandeur. Economist Ross Garnaut fancies himself the last word in Climatology, and now an Arts postdoc is apparently an expert on nation-scale energy production and distribution. Quote:

Kerry Schott, the architect of the PM?s signature energy blueprint, said yesterday that there was no longer an investment case to build new coal-fired power stations End of quote.

Orwell once observed that one has to belong to the ?intelligentsia? to believe certain foolish ideas that no ordinary person would be taken in by for a minute. The Australian?s readership was quick to prove his point.

?Jim? wrote: Quote:

?Dr Kerry Schott ? has a BA (Arts) from New England University, a Masters (Arts) from British Columbia University Canada, and a PhD (Doctor of Arts) from Oxford. Her career has been as an academic, then public service, then with Deutsche Bank then running Sydney Water.

?No engineering degree, no science degree, no accounting degree and no economics degree … You can make your own judgement on how her qualifications make her suitable for the job she has been given.? End of quote.

But more than just attack Dr Schott?s academic background, astute Australian readers began to pick holes in her argument. From ?Timothy?: Quote:

? ?The cost of running a clean-coal plant is much more expensive that running a combination of wind, solar and gas, or, better yet, wind, solar and pumped hydro.? Well this is just plain nonsense. These renewable are between twice and six times more expensive with subsidies removed than clean coal as being built in Germany.

?If they were not that expensive why in earth would the Germans build these plants? Does Shott actually expect us to believe this? Does she think the sun shines all night and the wind never ceases to blow?? End of quote.

?Tom? also noticed Schott?s pea-and-shells gambit: Quote:

?As usual, we?re not hearing the full story. Either she too is ignoring the subsidies, or is assuming an artificially high price for coal (like that in Victoria, where financial imposts have been put on coal power for purely ideological reasons).? End of quote.

Indeed, wrote ?jayess?: Quote:

?coal has deliberately been made uncompetitive by government action. Our economy is being destroyed to pander to an ideological belief in an unproven hypothesis.? End of quote.

?Grahame? also pointed out a minor technicality that Schott had seemingly ignored: Quote:

?From an engineer who worked in power, when are they going to wake up to the long term maintenance costs of these millions of additional infrastructure components mostly in hard to reach places that are required to supplant a miniscule number of components in coal fired generation. Turbine bearings will last 40 years. See if the 100 windmills to replace just one 500mW genset last 10!? End of quote.

More technical quibbling from ?Terry?: Quote:

?Dr Schott, please show the scientific proof for your comment?Do not forget to include the cost of maintaining standby generators for cloudy days and inappropriate wind speeds.

?Finally it would be difficult to put a cost against the slaughter of birds (essentially one per day per turbine) and bats, but i?m sure your environmental friends could give you a cost figure for the slaughter of wildlife. End of quote.