Terry McCrann: The Mandatory RET – It’s Only a RORT When You’re Not In On It


Terry McCrann: knows a RORT when he smells one.

Follow the money trail, and RET spells rort not power
Herald Sun
Terry McCrann
8 September 2014

TWO eternal pieces of advice emerged from the Watergate saga that kneecapped Richard Nixon’s presidency and then the president himself.

The first was the observation that it’s not the crime that gets you but the cover-up; the second was the instruction to follow the money.

While we’ve seen dozens if not indeed hundreds of examples of the former in the subsequent four decades, arguably it’s the latter that has proved more absolutely durable.

That’s been the case, if for no other reason than that, all too often, neither the crime nor the cover-up gets the — usually, political — “criminal”, with or without the quotation marks.

But “the money” always, always, leads somewhere. Throw in the great and piercingly accurate quote from Australia’s larrikin entrepreneur John Singleton that it’s only a rort when you are not in on it, and we arrive at the RET.

More specifically, we arrive at the long overdue and fundamentally necessary review of the RET — Renewable Energy Target — by businessman and both economic and climate realist Dick Warburton.

Somewhere along the line, as I’ve previously noted, it lost the “M” from its original acronym of M (for mandatory) RET, even though it remained just as punitively obligatory.

Well, the release of Warburton’s punishingly rational and even-handed review has unleashed a primeval scream across the renewable energy sector as if torn from Munch’s famous painting.

Follow the money, your money — and the screams. They lead directly to all those who have been sucking on the taxpayer and consumer teat: so far, as Warburton detailed, to the tune of over $9 billion (of your money) with another $22 billion (still, of your money) to come, if the scheme is left untouched.

Those figures are in NPV (net present value) terms — which mean the total of actual dollars wasted every year through until at least 2030 will be much, much bigger.

We have seen the usual campaign of misrepresentation and outright lies to scare the Federal Government out of turning off the money flows to all the renewable energy main-chancers.

This has been done in the context of a vicious campaign to demonise Warburton as a climate sceptic, by deliberately mischaracterising and indeed simply ignoring what he recommended. If anything Warburton went too lightly on the extraordinary fraud that is so-called renewable energy.

Extraordinary, but so obvious. What part of: when the wind don’t blow the power don’t flow; and when the moon comes out the glass doesn’t glow, do assorted otherwise intelligent people and useful idiots find impossible to comprehend?

That, on a more substantive level, every single MW of installed (sic) wind and solar capacity (sic) has to be backed up by real sources of power generation, otherwise known as carbon-based coal or gas?

Even in the country which is the poster boy for wind power — Denmark — which gets close to a third of its total power from wind, there are times when it gets zero, nothing, nada, from that source.

It then has to use its own coal-fired generators or tap into the power generation of its neighbours — mostly Norway, Sweden and Germany.

That means it gets access to a mix of hydro — when the water’s flowing; nuclear; and coal, with “green” Germany building more Hazlewood-style brown coal stations because, ahem, even in Germany some times the winds don’t blow.

The bottom line with wind so-called power — for all the lazy allure of solar panels on rooftops and even massive solar “farms”, almost all future RET-imposed renewable spending will be on wind — is that its actual cost of production is two-to-three times that of coal.

We have seen an innovative form of deception with the claim that massive increases in wind will work to reduce future power prices.

The claim is true, in terms of potential prices to the power buyer, because the RET would swamp energy supply with compulsory wind. Generators of real and reliable (coal-fired) power would cut prices to buy a slice of the lower non-RET available demand.

To understand why it’s a fraud, imagine if we’d done that to “save” the car industry. The government could have mandated 20 per cent of cars bought had to be locally made. It might well have sparked a cut in prices by importers fighting over the remaining 80 per cent, but it would not be sustainable.

Whether cars or power, the market would correct. In the case of power, generators of (actual) cheap power would be forced to close, leaving us with mandatory (actual) expensive wind power.

Somebody, somewhere, would have to pay the bill for producing wildly expensive wind power.

Warburton didn’t actually go near any of these core absurdities; there wasn’t an ounce of climate scepticism in his analysis, far less the recommendations.

All he did was to arrive at the inescapable conclusion that using the RET to try to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide was grossly wasteful and inefficient. He was also very mindful of the legitimate point that, whether sane or not (my comment, not), people had invested money on the basis of the RET, and to simply scrap it would be unfair.

So he offered two alternatives. The first was to continue the scheme until 2030, but freeze it at its current level of investment, including projects that had just only been committed.

As he noted: this would “provide investors in existing renewable generation with continued access to certificates so as to avoid substantial asset value loss and retain the CO2 emissions reductions that have been achieved so far.

“Importantly, this approach avoids the costs to the community associated with subsidising additional generation capacity that is not required to meet electricity demand.”

Alternatively, to grow the RET in line with growth in electricity demand; and indeed, allocate it 50 per cent of that growth.

That is hardly the recommendation of a so-called sceptic, but of a businessman — who doesn’t think you can simply ignore both arithmetic and reality — doing the job he was asked to do.

But no, no, that was not enough for the reality-deniers sucking on the renewable target teat. They don’t want us to follow the money, just to keep it coming.
Herald Sun


You’re only angry because you’re not in on it.

About stopthesethings

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


  1. “when the wind don’t blow the power don’t flow; and when the moon comes out the glass doesn’t glow, do assorted otherwise intelligent people and useful idiots find impossible to comprehend?”

    This in fact means that even the proposition “the cost of wind power is three times that of coal” is far too charitable, and a fortiori so with nuclear, which is a hundred times (at least) cleaner than coal. When the wind don’t blow, you gets nuthin, and if you need it, the loss could be your entire grid.
    If the wind blows, it “aint worth nuthin” if nobody’s askin’ for it.

    Possibly the worst crime of the “solar renewables” religion is that their manifest uselessness casts doubt upon the reality of the problem that an energy alternative to fossil fuel is supposed to solve. The climate changes that man-made addition to the seemingly trifling atmospheric density of carbon dioxide have made (and will continue to make for some time after we stop) are quite possibly as catastrophic as James Hansen predicts. Look him up.

    The only feasible alternative to fossil fuel resources, which date only from the time when photosynthetic organisms became common, is the energy collected as uranium and thorium when the planet first condensed from dust. The dust contained a contribution of energy from stars far bigger than our Sun, that had collapsed and exploded as supernovae.

    Comparatively recently, we’ve found out how to use it peacefully, safely, and with remarkably little waste.
    But for the best prospect of all, IMHO, see http://transatomipower.com.

  2. Here’s an interview with Dick Warburton, who led the Government’s recent RET review.

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