“Macca” & “Ronno” should watch & learn from Europe

In Australia the battle to kill off the Renewable Energy Target has well and truly begun.  In response, wind industry goons have been seen crawling all over the Big House on the Hill in Canberra; trying to schmooze and booze their way into the hearts – and pockets – of a few Coalition members.

expensive business lunch

Want a job for your wife, sure why not? The CEFC is paying.

****

STT hears that a couple of Coalition rats – for the purposes of this discussion let’s call them “Ronno” and “Macca” – have been seen cavorting – yet again – with another bloke we’ll call “Johnno” and his close mate, “Boy” George.

We’re not sure if ex-Transfield heavy, Frank Bestic is involved, but, as STT readers know, he’s a hard man to catch.

Macca has, apparently, been throwing his weight around trying to bully fellow members of the Coalition into ignoring the true cost of the RET – and is working overtime to shut down Marshall Madigan’s fine efforts to root out the ongoing REC fraud being committed by Acciona at Waubra; Pac Hydro at Cape Bridgewater; and RATCH at Windy Hill, just to mention a few.

Macca’s also been seen bullying anybody with the temerity to challenge the economic lunacy of the RET; and there is a growing number of them, including Burchell Wilson and a solid team from The Australian.

So just why is Macca so protective of the great wind power fraud?

While wind scammers believe they’re on sure thing with Macca in the House, STT hears that Macca’s days might be numbered?

Alan Jones has been giving him a pretty fair pasting every day of the week concerning underhanded “planning” shenanigans over Toowoomba’s private airport, among other things, which is causing Tony Abbott no end of embarrassment.  We also hear former member for Hume, Alby Schultz is ready to help tip a bucket on Macca & Co.

STT hears that Macca helped turn the Coalition’s Friends of Mining Lunch – held in May this year – into a great wind scam “love-in”.  We know that Macca bent over backwards to make sure that Johnno and his buddy “Boy” George got to address the rock scratchers at the lunch.  How cosy is that?

But Infigen’s little pitch clearly didn’t impress the audience – as STT readers know the miners have just joined forces in a very public call to scrap the RET: outright.  “Bugger!” – as they say.

With the damage done to the Labor brand by Eddie Obeid – and his fellow band of political fraudsters and hucksters – being played out in the national press, day after day for more than a year now, you’d think that politicians, in general, and Coalition members in particular, would be pretty careful about how they played “the game”?

Hubris and arrogance are not virtues – and certainly not in public office.

STT thinks that Ronno and Macca should spend a whole lot less time listening to Johnno and Boy George and much more time paying attention to the disastrous economic consequences of backing the wind scam pony.

If Ronno and Macca want to leave favourable political legacies they should spend less time worrying about lining their own pockets and looking after their mates, and more time looking after Australia’s national interests – one of which is scrapping the RET in its entirety, right now.

Here’s yet another story from Europe, focusing on the wholesale economic slaughter being suffered by households and industries in Britain and Germany, as a direct result of runaway renewable energy policy – just like Australia’s RET.

Blackout Britain — why our energy crisis is only just beginning
The Spectator
David Rose
16 November 2013

Costly green measures are behind our rocketing energy bills. But as politicians dither, an even greater crisis awaits

BASF, the world’s largest chemical company, has been headquartered in Germany since before the country formally existed. Founded in 1865 by the industrial pioneer Friedrich Engelhorn, it still occupies the vast site on the banks of the Rhine at Ludwigshafen where its first dye and soda factories were built. A third of its staff are employed in Rhineland Palatinate. It is a global company, yet as German as Goethe and gummi bears.

A few days ago Kurt Bock, the firm’s chief executive, warned that its Ludwigshafen plant may soon be forced to close, with BASF’s German jobs relocated elsewhere. The reason, he said, was Germany’s soaring energy costs and the crippling green levies being used to pay for ‘renewables’ such as wind farms. With German energy prices already twice as high as in the United States and likely to rise much further, the time had come to reconsider ‘the competitiveness of the location’.

BASF’s British rivals should take no comfort from this. For years Britain has, like Germany, chosen green energy over cheap energy — and piled regulation after regulation, levy after levy, on the providers of fossil fuels. In Germany the effect is now becoming apparent: the sacrifice of industry on the altar of environmentalism. It may sound like economic suicide, but it is precisely the policy which David Cameron’s government is pursuing.

Energy now stands at the very centre of British politics, a subject enlivened by Ed Miliband’s pledge to freeze household energy bills. His policy is wildly popular, seeing as gas and electricity prices have roughly trebled in the past ten years. More than five million households are now in fuel poverty. As winter advances, the choice between heating or eating isn’t some abstract slogan, but a daily dilemma. Each winter in Brtain, some 25,000 elderly people die from the cold.

But the debate has been bizarre. Politicians from all benches of the Commons like to lambast the Big Six energy companies, without mentioning their own culpability. Mr Miliband talks about forcing energy bosses to take pay cuts. Meanwhile David Cameron and Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat Climate Change Secretary, suggest the answer is to fiddle around with schemes such as the ‘eco’ levy which subsidises home insulation, and move them from fuel bills to general taxation, so cutting bills by 7 per cent. Nothing either side is discussing will make more than a temporary cosmetic difference.

While they bicker about trimming a few tens of pounds here or there, Parliament has been dealing with the closing stages of the Energy Bill. This, working in concert with its predecessor, the 2008 Climate Change Act, will inflict the biggest fuel bill increases of all. The 2008 measure enforces a legally binding carbon emission target for 2020. But because it’s much harder to cut emissions from transport and heating than electricity generation, this will mean trebling the proportion of power produced by renewables from its current 11 per cent over just six years.

The cost of this swift and radical transformation dwarfs marginal items such as the eco levy. According to the ‘levy control framework’ established by the Energy Bill, it means more than tripling renewable subsidies to £7.6 billion by the end of this decade. The total renewable subsidy which UK consumers will have paid via higher energy bills for the ten years to 2020 will be an almighty £46 billion.

Even this eye-watering figure is a massive underestimate. This week, the National Audit Office said bills were likely to rise above inflation for at least 17 years, with the cost of government commitments likely to be at least £700 per household. According to the energy experts Professor Gordon Hughes of Edinburgh University and Peter Atherton of Liberum Capital, the Energy Bill figure does not factor in the enormous cost of connecting wind turbines to the National Grid, nor the complicated switching mechanisms needed to deal with the fact that no turbine will actually produce power for more than a third of the time. They say the true green bill by 2020 could be more than £100 billion, with households paying around £400 more per household for electricity alone.

For voters, this will mean years of further cost-of-living misery. But for business, it may well lead to German-style bankruptcy. About two thirds of this legally mandated ‘dash for wind’ will be paid for by companies. Some will find it intolerable, and join previous casualties of Britain’s green revolution such as aluminium smelting. Those that remain will have little choice but to pass their bills on to customers — so many other things will become more expensive, too.

This year, unique among nations, Britain introduced a tax on emitting carbon dioxide, the ‘carbon price floor’. This means power generators must pay £16 for every tonne of carbon dioxide they emit. The Climate Change Committee, set up by the 2008 Act, has determined this should quadruple by 2030 — for the 2020 emissions target is only the start. The Climate Change Act already imposes still more ambitious targets for 2027 under what is termed the ‘fourth carbon budget’, which will see electricity generation almost entirely ‘decarbonised’. According to Atherton, the cost of effecting what will amount to a revolution in the crucial industry on which all others depend will be about £300 billion — a figure very close to the NAO’s. Here too the pain in store for British business is unique. No one anywhere else has enacted binding targets beyond 2020.

This is where Germany’s present agony becomes instructive. The infrastructure of the most costly power ever invented, offshore wind, is well-advanced there, though in Britain it remains in its infancy. The result, as Der Spiegel reported recently, is that green subsidies have already ‘reached levels comparable only to the eurozone bailouts’. This year, German consumers will pay a total of €20 billion for power from wind, solar panels and biomass — of which a staggering €17 billion is subsidy.

Earlier this year, BASF decided to build a new ammonia plant in the US because the American shale gas boom, which caused electricity costs to plummet and hence an industrial rebirth in the rustbelt states. Last Tuesday week Hariolf Kottmann, who runs BASF’s Swiss competitor Clariant, said he no longer had any reason ‘to invest a penny’ in Germany: ‘We had two or three projects planned. Now we prefer to invest in the United States.’ He said the renewable levy the firm was paying for its factory in Frankfurt-Höchst had almost doubled since 2011 — making energy twice as expensive as in China and America. And yes, he mentioned those two countries in the same breath.

As German companies know, things could be about to get worse. Germany has so far exempted manufacturing companies from most of their renewable subsidies. The European Commission has launched an investigation, and may now declare that this amounts to an unlawful state subsidy. If the exemption is removed, BASF says it would expect to pay an extra €400 million a year just for Ludwigshafen — a total which will, of course, only rise. A further 300 German manufacturing companies get the exemptions. What’s the point of eurozone bailouts if German industry, which survived the great recession so well, collapses?

Britain’s Energy Intensive Users’ Group, representing businesses on which 800,000 jobs depend, has pushed the government for similar exemptions. Some have been offered, though a government report last year admitted that British business will soon face the highest green costs of any of 11 major industrial countries surveyed — 50 per cent more than in Germany and nearly twice those of France. ‘The industries with the heaviest reliance on electricity are also those most sensitive to foreign competition,’ says the group’s director, Jeremy Nicholson. ‘Thousands of jobs will be lost.’

It isn’t easy to disentangle the impacts of energy and climate policies. Official documents are written in a jargon that is virtually impenetrable. Worse is the sheer Panglossian dishonesty of the policies’ exponents. Ed Davey’s Department of Energy and Climate Change says that energy bills will be 11 per cent lower by the end of the decade, and the minister invites our applause. But the small print reveals a distinction between ‘prices’ and ‘bills’. The price of electricity, he admits, is set to rise by at least a third because of his green policies. So why the cut in bills? Better insulation and boilers, apparently — and, one might add, lower demand, caused by rocketing prices and thicker woolly jumpers.

It isn’t hard to conceive an exit from this strategy: repeal the Climate Change Act, abolish its targets, and stop the Energy Bill coming into force. We could get on with fracking and so release our colossal reserves of clean natural gas. Professor Hughes says that to retool the electricity industry to rely on modern ‘combined cycle’ gas plants would cost about £15 billion, with no subsidies necessary. This would be following the American example, where carbon emissions have fallen to a 20-year low because they are so much lower in gas than in coal. We could then invest some of the billions currently spent on wind on research into non-fossil energy sources such as nuclear fusion — much closer to viability than most people realise.

But the intellectual shutdown in British politics means that such ideas cannot be publicly articulated. Some cabinet members — notably George Osborne and the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, a keen supporter of fracking — have a sense of the looming crisis. But while the coalition remains in office, they are powerless: green energy is the closest thing the Liberal Democrats have to a religion. Nor is Ed Miliband likely to tear up the Climate Change Act he authored — and anyway, it’s politically useful to him to cast energy companies as national villains.

In the unlikely event that the Conservatives win an outright majority, it’s far from clear that the party is capable of thinking clearly about how to avoid this catastrophe. Even Osborne ended up signing the most expensive deal in energy history. Astonishingly, the Chancellor has guaranteed to pay EDF almost double the market price for power from the nuclear plant that is to be built in Somerset, for 40 years. Why would he do that? Because the Tories have not allowed themselves to think rationally about energy for at least eight years. Even if they want to avert disaster, they don’t know where to start.

Britain is sleepwalking towards the same economic calamity for which Germany is now bracing itself. Even ministers who can see the coming disaster lack the power (or knowledge) to change course. They will be all too aware of the absurd truth: for all the crocodile tears about rising energy costs, all three parties have agreed upon a range of policies specifically designed to cause prices to soar — with the inevitable consequences for families and businesses. The current squabbles about energy bills are just a prelude: a far bigger, deeper and more dangerous crisis awaits.
The Spectator

The shape of things to come if Ronno and Macca don’t start focusing on the main game.

Australia’s Renewable Energy Policy is an economic suicide pact.

The kind of economic future to be enjoyed by Ronno and Macca’s grandkids depends entirely upon whether these boys have the common sense and courage to tear it up.

Over to you.

Ian Macfarlane

Time to stop worrying about Johnno and Boy George.
Time to start worrying about Australia’s economic future, instead.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Keith Staff says:

    Backing up what most people with some intellectual capacity know, there is a report in the UK Independent newspaper today (18th November) “we will never reduce energy bills as long as we are in hock to the green lobby”.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/we-will-never-reduce-energy-bills-as-long-as-we-are-in-hock-to-the-green-lobby-8945408.html

    Hasta La Vista!

  2. Jackie Rovensky says:

    Why do these people keep pushing a cause which is hastening the demise of the world’s environment?
    Is it because they want to ensure when the end comes they have plenty of ‘lolly’ to ensure they are secure in the aftermath while the rest of us grovel searching for food and water?
    Or are they just greedy and making sure they are able to retire in luxury when they lose their cushy influential positions?

    One thing is sure though – they are running scared because the truth is seeping through and the dam is ready to tear apart from the weight of the flow of research and concern pushing against the dam wall.
    Today, tomorrow, sometime very soon they are going to be swamped and washed away.
    Every drop of truth that’s published, every drop of truth that adds to the swell, ensures they are doomed and looking after the environment can once again return to the hands of those who truly care.

    Wake-up you poor foolish dunderheads and accept your ‘mates’ are not worthy of the title or attention you have been bestowing on these purveyors of lies, those who promise so much and deliver so little, understand they’ll not stand by you and throw a lifeline when the dam breaks they’ll simply sail away to try and peddle their lies somewhere else.

  3. Quit, Ian, while you are able, it’s all closing in on ya.

  4. Jim Hutson says:

    and all they have to admit to is ” we got it wrong”

    • David Mortimer says:

      Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that simple.
      Unfortunately, there are too many wind installations “out there” that are operational and mandated to receive and are receiving the RECs. If the government says “we got it wrong”, the wind weasels are still going to put their hands out for massive compensation unless it can be shown irrefutably that they knew about the health issues and actively sought to perpetrate a fraud by lies, cover-ups and deceit. When that happens, I will be there to lock the cell door and it is going to be a very packed cell!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Victoria. Macca’s unseemly links with near bankrupt wind power outfit, Infigen are legend (see our post here). Apparently, Macca just can’t help himself: he’s trying to put together a “package” that […]

  2. […] hears, however, that Infigen & Co have (yet again) enlisted their “go-to-man”, Ian “Macca” Macfarlane – in one last ditch attempt to save their […]

  3. […] has raised one or two suspicions about Ian “Macca” Macfarlane’s unseemly connections with his mates at Infigen (aka Babcock & Brown) and we’ve entertained the […]

  4. […] has entertained serious doubts about Ian “Macca” Macfarlane and his unhealthy links with the wind industry and, it appears, that the Head Boy has his own […]

  5. […] “Macca” has sought to water-down the Draft Excessive Noise Bill promoted by Madigan and Xenophon that would bring some reason and sanity back to controlling noise from giant fans by linking breaches of a 10dB(A) above background limit to suspension of the operator’s entitlement to receive RECs.  Current state noise guidelines set an effective limit of 25dB(A) above background – the limit is 40dB(A) but night-time background levels often fall below 15dB(A). No wonder the neighbours pack up and leave. […]

  6. […] hears that, despite Macca’s efforts, the Productivity Commission will be heavily involved in the RET review, if not in charge […]

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