Australia’s Wind Industry Finally Faces its “Waterloo”

napoleon

He always seemed a little taller in the saddle.

****

During the latter part of the French Revolution a diminutive Corsican took charge of French affairs, installing himself as First Consul in 1799; and, in 1804, anointing himself French Emperor – adopting the tag Napoleon I.

The little Emperor bestrode Europe and – with his Grande Armée – from 1803 to 1815 generally gave his neighbours hell. His trip to Moscow in 1812 languished in the Russian winter snows – it wasn’t anywhere near the roaring success he’d planned for (although it did result in one or two thumping orchestra tunes – and a few very long and somewhat grim pieces of literature).

After his trip to Russia, his Grande Armée was defeated at Leipzig, Germany and in the Peninsular War at Vitoria, Spain – but still, the little Emperor fought on.

Napoleon’s self-confidence and belief in his own brilliance bordered on the maniacal – he lived and breathed hubris and hyperbole – and if he was worried that he had made an enemy of every European state, including the Super Power of the day, Great Britain, he didn’t show it.

But, eventually, the little Corsican’s luck ran out in June 1815 – near a little Belgian town called Waterloo. Napoleon ran smack bang into a grand coalition of forces under the command of the Duke of Wellington – backed up by a host of other Countries, including the massive Prussian army, commanded by Gebhard von Blücher.

At Waterloo, Napoleon’s defeat was final and definitive – with the Corsican banished thereafter to rot on the island of St Helena in the South Atlantic.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Since then to meet one’s “Waterloo” – in common parlance – is to meet one’s final, insurmountable challenge and be defeated by it.

Well, the Australian wind industry has just got a glimpse of its Waterloo.

Last Wednesday, the Coalition’s Expert Panel – charged with the task of reviewing the Renewable Energy Target – held a meeting in Sydney, attended by representatives from peak business bodies, such as the Business Council of Australia; miners, like Rio Tinto; and serious (ie conventional) power generators. Along for the ride too were a bunch of rent-seekers from the wind and solar industries – including, of course, the Clean Energy Council – all desperate to keep the RET gravy train rolling.

The wind industry and its parasites reacted in fits of horror when the make up of the panel was announced back in February. The panel is headed up by Dick Warburton – former Reserve Bank board member and all-round friend of (real) business and industry – with Matt Zema, the chief executive of the Australian Energy Market Operator; Brian Fisher, the former executive director of the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics; and Shirley In’t Veld, the former chief executive of Verve Energy in Western Australia making up the rest of a hard-hitting team (see our post here).

dick-warburton

Dick “RET Slayer” Warburton spells it out.

****

At the time the make-up of the panel was announced, the wind industry had no real insight into just how bad things were about to get. All of that changed at last Wednesday’s meeting.

During the meeting, Dick Warburton – and other members of the panel – laid out precisely what the panel’s task is all about (and what it isn’t about) and gave some pretty strong hints about what its recommendations will ultimately be: none of it favourable to the wind industry.

The wind and solar industry representatives present descended into a state of panic stricken shock – one of STT’s operatives noted that Infigen’s boys left the meeting looking like “zombies”.

The eco-fascist bloggers that spin propaganda on behalf of the wind industry are crying foul – calling the review a “farce”; “rigged”; “biased”; with a “pre-determined outcome”.

STT puts their hysterical language down to the fact that they’re just working their way through the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

What really got their goat was the announcement that top-flight energy market consultants, ACIL Allen has been appointed by the panel to carry out the modelling for the review.

No fools, ACIL Allen – these boys are well and truly alive to the insane costs of the RET.

Back in 2012, they produced a report for Energy Australia which pointed out that the mandatory RET – with its current fixed target of 41,000 GW/h – would involve a subsidy of $53 billion, transferred from power consumers to wind power generators via Renewable Energy Certificates – a Federal Tax on all Australian power consumers. On the modelling done by Liberal MP, Angus “the Enforcer” Taylor – and privately confirmed by Origin Energy – ACIL Allen’s figure for the REC Tax is pretty close to the mark.

The wind industry’s cries of “farce”, “rigged” and “biased” fall just a little hollow, however, against the fact that Infigen & Co had pushed very, very hard for wind industry “friendly”, SKM to do the modelling for the review.

SKM has already performed $millions worth of engineering consultancy work for the wind industry and hopes to do tens of $millions more. It’s already tossed up a few pieces of wind industry backed drivel – pitched as hard-hitting “research” – but which are no more than the kind of fluff and guff you get from the Clean Energy Council. No surprises there. What’s that you say about “bias” and “pre-determined outcomes”? Apparently, it’s only an issue when the bias and outcome isn’t set to run in your favour.

During the meeting, the expert panel made it very clear what their mission is NOT about: the review has nothing to do with “climate change” (formerly known as “global warming” – until it became embarrassingly clear that the planet stopped getting warmer 17 years ago); it has nothing to do with the spurious claims made by the wind industry about the creation of tens of thousands of “green” jobs; and it has nothing to do with modelling or measuring CO2 abatement.

On that last point, the panel flagged its position by implicitly rejecting the wind industry’s unsubstantiated claims about CO2 abatement. At one point, Dick Warburton made it plain that the review had nothing to do with CO2 emissions – and that the review was only concerned with the cost impacts of renewable energy in the electricity sector.

The panel told the meeting that its modelling will assume that there will be no carbon price between now and 2030 and no CO2 abatement target during that time – and that the modelling will assume that meeting the current 41,000 GW/h by 2020 is a physical impossibility – which it is.

For a rundown on the task set for ACIL Allen and the assumptions made see their presentation here.

Head spruiker for the Clean Energy Council, Russell “Rusty” Marsh addressed the meeting from the podium – while Infigen’s boys carped and whinged from the back of the room – banging on about “dangerous climate change” – mumbling about saving Polar Bears and Penguins – and bleating about the “wonders of wind” – much to the panel’s amusement.

Dick Warburton grinned through most of Rusty’s plea for RET mercy. It seems Rusty was squarely engaged in venting the first and third stages of his and his clients’ grief: “denial” and “bargaining”.

In a moment of pure desperation, the clowns from Infigen resorted to an effort to link the La Nina and El Nino weather patterns to giant fans – apparently the latter are the perfect solution to the former.

Although, we think it a little bit of a stretch to suggest that the continued maintenance of a massive stream of taxpayer/power consumer subsidies to an intermittent and unreliable power generation source – which cannot and will never reduce CO2 emissions – might have a bearing on the movement of ocean currents in the Pacific – a phenomenon which predates human history.

Rusty – and the boys from Infigen – made a raft of other wild claims about the “benefits” of wind power – all of which were soundly dismissed by the panel as “too hard to model” (polite code for “patent nonsense”) – and that any such “benefits” amounted to nothing more than a “wealth transfer” from power consumers to wind farm operators. Ouch! No wonder Infigen’s boys shuffled out of the meeting looking like extras from the Night of the Living Dead.

Having woken up to the RET review panel’s true mission, the wind industry and its parasites have now been reduced to name-calling – tagging Dick Warburton “a climate change denier and pro-nuclear advocate”; former ABARE chief, Brian Fisher a “fossil fuel lobbyist”; and Shirley In’t Veld, a “front for big coal”.

Hardly the kind of approach that might help their “cause” you’d think, but hysterical responses are to be expected, as they work through the second stage of their grief: “anger”.

The noises made by the panel at the meeting last Wednesday clearly don’t bode well for the RET. Scrap the RET and the wind industry – on life support now – will, of course, die a quick and natural death.

The panel’s likely recommendations will find a Federal Parliament raring to lay waste to the most ludicrous energy policy ever devised. The great majority within the Coalition are keen to bring the rort to an end, seeing the RET for what it is: nothing more than “corporate welfare” on a massive scale.

Come July, the new Senate takes its place and the balance of power will be held by a bunch of arch-conservative newcomers – along with STT Champions, John Madigan and Nick Xenophon.

The newcomers include 3 Senators from the Jolly “Un-Green” Giant, Clive Palmer’s Palmer United Party (PUP) – plus 1 – Ricky Muir of the Motoring Enthusiasts’ Party, who has already done a deal to side with the PUP; Bob Day (Family First) from South Australia; and David Leyonhjelm (Liberal Democratic Party) from NSW. All of them have signalled that they are itching to help the Coalition ditch Labor’s Carbon Tax – and all of them have made noises that they’re just as keen to scrap the Renewable Energy Target, too.

From July, to get its legislation through the Senate, the Coalition will have to do business with the help of these 6 newcomers – and John Madigan and Nick Xenophon. With that line up, getting legislation scrapping the RET through the Senate will be a doddle.

With the RET review panel sharpening its axe – and the Parliamentary Planets about to align – things couldn’t look much worse for the wind industry. This, of course, couldn’t be happening to a nicer bunch of lads.

Expect to hear a whole lot more hysterical language from that quarter as the industry, its parasites and the Clean Energy Council work their way through the 5 stages of grief; the first of which is “denial”.

At Waterloo, even with his artillery captured, his troops in disarray and Wellington’s superior forces holding all the points of strategic importance, Napoleon tried to rally the last rump of his forces, flattering himself with the hope of the victory he knew was his.

It wasn’t, of course, to be – Napoleon had, finally, met his Waterloo.

From the noises made by the RET review panel last Wednesday, it appears the Australian wind industry is about to meet its very own Waterloo.

napoleon defeated

Even Emperors run out of luck, eventually.

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Absolutely brilliant – again – thank you for cheering us all up!

    Here in Scotland we are polishing our platters and sharpening our spikes for when the weasel heads begin to roll!

  2. STT thank you for another great article! I love your examples of the 5 stages of grief that the wind industry need to work through. I must admit I’m a bit concerned about what will happen in the Senate come July as the paper in the west has quoted Clive Palmer às saying he will support the Greens & Labour in keeping the RET. Is he leading us all on & just keeping us guessing? I guess July will tell.

  3. STT, you have made my day, we knew it was coming, but the result is even better than we expected.

    Keep us informed, because we are watching with great interest.

    TCW.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Contrary to the CEC’s wailing, there are no wind industry jobs under threat. Construction activity has ground to a standstill, simply because retailers stopped entering Power Purchase Agreements over 2½ years ago, in November 2012, long before the RET Review kicked off in April 2014 (see our post here). […]

  2. […] been dreading the Panel’s recommendations from the moment it was appointed and got to work (see our post here). Although, Infigen’s deluded operatives kept clinging to the hope that the Panel would never […]

  3. […] Back in April, Dick – along with the rest of the RET Review Panel – held a meeting in Sydney, attended by representatives from peak business bodies, such as the Business Council of Australia; miners, like Rio Tinto; and serious (ie conventional) power generators. Along for the ride too were a bunch of rent-seekers from the wind and solar industries – including, of course, the Clean Energy Council – all desperate to keep the RET gravy train rolling (see our post here). […]

  4. […] Fortunately, the RET Review Panel isn’t the least bit interested in helping the wind industry to “mature” – its stated aim is to analyse, model and forecast “the cost impacts of renewable energy in the electricity sector” (see our post here). […]

  5. […] The Panel has made it plain that they are principally concerned “with the cost impacts of renewable energy in the electricity sector” – so there’ll no place for the wind industry to hide this time around (see our post here). […]

  6. […] the RET Review panel is made up of people who clearly didn’t drink the Kool-Aid (see our posts here and […]

  7. […] When the Panel met with miners, business groups and wind industry rent-seekers a few weeks back he was less circumspect – telling the audience that the review has nothing to do with “climate change” or CO2 emissions – and that it’s primarily “concerned with the cost impacts of renewable energy in the electricity sector” (see our post here). […]

  8. […] The members of the RET review panel has signalled their intention to take an axe to the RET: spelling out the fact that the review has absolutely nothing to do with “climate change” or CO2 emissions – their task is simply to analyse, model and forecast “the cost impacts of renewable energy in the electricity sector” (see our post here). […]

  9. […] Last Friday, the Federal Treasurer, Joe Hockey (aka Shrek) met with Alan Jones on his Breakfast radio show on 2GB. And what he had to say about giant fans has sent the wind industry and its parasites into fits of apoplexy. Predictably, the usual suspects – eco-fascist bloggers, the ABC and Fairfax Press – reacted with mortified, foaming outrage. But they’re just working through the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance (see our post here). […]

  10. […] Alan mentions “the usual howls of anguish from rent seekers” that followed the announcement of the RET review. Well, after the meeting held by the panel last week in Sydney – where the panel spelled out the review’s real mission (determining the cost impacts of renewable energy in the electricity sector) – those “howls” have become a blood-curdling banshee scream (see our post here). […]

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