Former Labor Treasurer – Keith De Lacy: ‘Wind Power Simply Don’t Work – Not Here, Not Anywhere’

Bill

Electricity Bill Shorten: Existential Threat to Workers & the Poor.

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As Australians contemplate which box to tick in this coming Saturday’s Federal election, STT thinks it’s time to pause and consider the potential consequences of those actions.

Once upon a time, the Australian Labor Party could rightly call itself “the workers’ party”.

The ALP had its beginnings during a shearers’ strike in the 1890s and – as myth and legend has it – was born in the shade of a ghost gum at Barcaldine in western Queensland in 1891.  The Labor Party was, thereafter, seen as the champion of the worker; and its shady birthplace earned the tagline of the “Tree of Knowledge”.

For nearly a century the ALP stuck close to its political and botanical roots.  The party attracted shearers – like Clyde Cameron and Mick Young – and one of its most revered sons, Ben Chifley, started life as an engine driver.

It was also seen as a party of “ideas”.  Apparently tapping into the Tree of Knowledge – it went on to introduce wide ranging and positive social and economic reforms – such as Medicare (universal health benefits coverage); floating the Australian dollar; and deregulating Australia’s torpid, if not moribund, banks, during the Hawke/Keating era of the 1980s.  Since then, the “workers’ party” has become anything but.

It’s current leader, Bill Shorten is obsessed with these things – pushing for a ludicrous 50% Renewable Energy Target that would require another 10-12,000 whirling Danish dervishes speared into the most prosperous parts of rural Australia, with industry crushing wind power subsidies pushing $9 billion a year.

A monster of a ‘chap’, Shorten not only hates blue collar workers, who will be among his first victims, as rocketing power prices kill miners, manufacturers and mineral processors, he publicly humiliated and vilified Jo Kermond on national television (ABC’s Q&A) when she told of her family’s suffering from incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound which has left them homeless and living as wind farm refugees, roaming the country in a converted school bus.

Jo, shaking and in tears was ridiculed by Shorten in front of a live audience, and the nation this former union bully-boy, and nowadays union lackey, wishes to govern. The physical and emotional torment Jo and her family have been suffering since 2009 was cruelly dismissed because Shorten doesn’t believe “wind farm skeptics”. For some idea of what the ALP has become under cynical, power hungry monsters, like Shorten, check out the clip below and our post here.

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Shorten and the ALP are pushing these things for one reason and one reason only: to profit from the LRET subsidy scheme by investing Labor/Union controlled superannuation fund’s money in outfits like Pacific Hydro – the Kermond family’s tormentors at Cape Bridgewater (see our post here).

Labor’s climate change spokesman, Mark Butler, another union lackey, is also in on the greatest rort of all time; pushing for a 50% RET, too. The current LRET has already cost Australian power punters more than $10 billion in RECs – added to their spiralling power bills – since it began in 2001 – and will go on to cost power consumers a further $45-50 billion in RECs to be issued and added to power bills until the scheme (as currently constituted) comes to an end in 2030.

Butler ought to know better – he’s a South Australian – purportedly looking after constituents from working class Port Adelaide – where unemployment well exceeds the national average and where a power bill, these days, is opened with a sense of dread.

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Braindead Butler: grins while his impoverished constituents bear it.

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South Australia already has the highest power prices in the Nation, double the cost of neighbouring Victoria; and has just been hit with another 12% hike in retail power bills – all thanks to its Labor State government’s obsession with wind power: South Australians Locked in Wind Power Price Disaster: Retail Prices Jump Another 12%

All in aid of his union paymasters, Butler is keen to give his constituents more of the same. A shameful proportion of the more than 50,000 SA homes that have been permanently disconnected from the power grid (as power prices have rocketed over the last 5 years) are situated in Butler’s electorate of Port Adelaide – which has a large proportion of unemployed households, struggling on welfare payments and plenty on low incomes battling to make ends meet.

Once upon a time, a “good” Labor man would die in a ditch to help working class people by reining in the excesses of wanton corporate greed and unbridled profiteering.

Not so with modern Labor apparatchiks, like Shorten and Butler – who are more concerned about protecting the $billions invested by their Labor/Union run ‘Industry’ Super funds in wind power (such as Union heavy, Gary Weaven’s brainchild, Pac Hydro): over the last decade, the profits gleaned from the $billions in RECs that such operations pocket have been channeled back to Labor’s election war chest. Shorten, Butler & Co know that if the LRET goes they will not only lose access to a cash cow, they’ll also lose their ability to control the “game”: in modern politics, money is power. Hence their push for a doubling of the LRET target.

In this piece from The Australian, former Queensland Labor Treasurer, Keith De Lacy provides an analysis of how the modern Labor Party has taken an axe to the Tree of Knowledge; and, successfully, and irreversibly severed its links to the workers’ party that was born under the shade of a ghost gum at Barcaldine, Queensland over a century ago.

Solar and wind power simply don’t work — not here, not anywhere
The Australian
Keith De Lacy
22 June 2016

One policy which seems to have escaped scrutiny during this election campaign is Labor’s commitment to increase the Renewable Energy Target to 50 per cent by 2030. I am surprised because it is a proposal that has enormous ramifications for economic growth and living standards, and disproportionate impacts on traditional Labor constituencies.

The problem we have in Australia is when we talk renewable energy we are talking wind and solar only — low value, expensive, unreliable, high capital cost, land hungry, intermittent energy.

According to the Department of Industry and Science wind currently generates 4.1 per cent and solar 2 per cent of Australia’s electricity. But even this is highly misleading because it is such low value power. You could close it down tomorrow (which it regularly does by itself) and it would make no difference to supply.

If we talk about total energy, as opposed to just electricity, wind and solar represent 1 per cent of Australia’s energy consumption. This despite billions of dollars of investment, subsidies, creative tariffs, mandates, and so on.

Solar and wind simply don’t work, not here, not anywhere.

The energy supply is not dense enough. The capital cost of consolidating it makes it cost prohibitive. But they are not only much more expensive because of this terminal disadvantage, they are low value intermittent power sources — every kilowatt has to be backed up by conventional power, dreaded fossil fuels. So we have two capital spends for the same output — one for the renewable and one for the conventional back-up.

Are you surprised it is so much more expensive, and inefficient, and always will be? So wind and solar, from a large scale electricity point of view, are duds. Now I know that will send the urgers into paroxysms of outrage. But have you ever seen an industry that so believed its own propaganda. Note, when they eulogise the future of renewables they point to targets, or to costly investments, never to the real contribution to supply.

Let’s look overseas where many countries have been destroying their budgets and their economies on this illusion for longer and more comprehensively than we in Australia.

The Germans are ruing the day they decided to save the world by converting to solar and wind. Germany has spent $US100bn on solar technology and it represents less than 1 per cent of their electricity supply.

Energy policy has been a disaster. Subsidies are colossal, the energy market is now chaotic, industry is decamping to other jurisdictions, and more than a million homes have had their power cut off.

It is reported electricity prices in Germany, Spain and the UK increased by 78 per cent, 111 per cent and 133 per cent between 2005 and 2014 as they forced additional renewable capacity into their electricity markets. Sunny Spain used to be the poster boy for renewables in Europe — photovoltaic cells and wind turbines stretching on forever. Now they are broke, winding back subsidies, even the feed-in tariffs which were guaranteed for 20 years. But wait, what about the green energy jobs that everybody gushes about? Spain has an unemployment rate of 21 per cent with a youth rate of 45.5 per cent.

Britain is little better. Subsidies are being wound back, and a Department of Energy report points out that in 2013, the number of households in fuel poverty in England was estimated at 2.35 million representing around 10.4 per cent of all households.

It is no better in the US either. States with renewable energy mandates are backtracking faster than Sally Pearson can clear hurdles.

Ohio has halved its mandate level (it was 25 per cent by 2025) because of high costs.

West Virginia has repealed its mandate because of high costs, and New Mexico has frozen its mandates.

Kansas was repealing its mandate which reportedly would save ratepayers $171m, representing $4367 for each household, and so the dismal story goes on.

The US Department of Energy has found electricity prices have risen in states with mandates twice as fast as those with no mandate.

As of 2013 California was the only state to adopt a feed-in tariff for solar power. It was immediately dubbed a failure by the renewable energy community because it offered only 31 cents per kWh, only five times the rate for conventional base load power.

Ah, but Asian countries are jumping on the bandwagon. Maybe. China built one new coalfired power plant every week in 2014, and India’s coal-powered investment in that same year equalled the total electricity capacity of NSW and Queensland.

To summarise — with all of the trillions spent worldwide on wind and solar, wind currently represents 1.2 per cent of global consumption of energy, and solar 0.2 per cent.

The good news, it is possible to reduce fossil fuel use in electricity generation — through hydro-electricity and nuclear fuel. Plenty of countries have done it — Canada 60 per cent hydro and 15 per cent nuclear; Sweden 45 per cent hydro and 48 per cent nuclear; Switzerland 54 per cent hydro and 41 per cent nuclear; France 11 per cent hydro and 79 per cent nuclear.

But Australia has zero tolerance of these two workable alternatives to fossil fuels. At least we are consistently inconsistent.

So where does that leave us? On the basis of evidence everywhere we could easily double the price of electricity and get nowhere near the 50 per cent target. What would that mean?

First, it means rapidly disappearing blue collar jobs in high energy industries like manufact­uring, car and ship building, smelting and refining, steel making and food processing.

There may be still some construction jobs, but they will largely be assembly only, as all of the components will come from those countries more interested in growing the economy and eliminating poverty than stoking the warm inner glow. Make no bones about it, a clean green economy has no place for high-vis shirts.

Second, rapidly rising electricity prices and the subsequent increase in the cost of living, disproportionately affects those at the bottom of the income scale.

Policies like this are OK for the Greens. They can keep their virtue intact because they never have to deliver. As Gough Whitlam once said, only the impotent are pure.

Mainstream parties don’t have that luxury. They need to look at the true costs, and benefits, of all policy proposals.

Keith DeLacy is a former Labor treasurer of Queensland.
The Australian

What Keith has to say reads like the work of STT (it isn’t). The fact that a Labor stalwart has called it for what it is, can only fuel hope that, some day soon, Australia will see the return to a sensible energy policy: one built on sound engineering and reasoned economics; not scurrilous greed and childish ideology. However, there’s no hope of that with Shorten, Butler & Co anywhere near the levers of government. Voters have been warned.

keith-de-lacy

Keith De Lacy gives a timely warning to voters.

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Peter Pronczak says:

    I support STT but 26/06/2016 para in relation to the ALP “…– it went on to introduce wide ranging and positive social and economic reforms – & floating the Australian dollar; and deregulating Australia’s torpid, if not moribund, banks, during the Hawke/Keating era…” just a bit over the top.
    Do you know anyone who can actually explain Keating’s ‘J’ curve & “The recession we had to have?”

    To start with, under PM Malcolm Fraser, John Hewson & John Howard kept their Mont Pelerin Society intention to implement its economic policies secret as they knew Fraser would not agree. Eventually Fraser came to his senses & resigned from the Liberal Party, because as he put it, “It’s not that I moved to the left, the Liberal Party moved further to the right.” He became a supporter of the CEC.
    Back when Lord Ralph Harris was President of the MPS he described Bob Hawke & Paul Keating as, “…two of my brightest students even though they were Labor men.”
    What this means is that for about 45 years ALP/NLP has implemented & maintained MPS economic policies of privatisation, tariff removal, the loss of parity pricing, & Australia’s reliance on the ‘generosity’ of the IMF, World Bank & private finance. BREXIT is the backlash to these same policies; The British Empire’s European Union http://cecaust.com.au/eu/BEEU.pdf was specially written for & distributed in the UK.

    The outcome of these MPS policies in OZ has seen the rise in costs, unemployment & the deaths of farmers (the dairy industry being a current point).
    The Nationally owned bank as the CBA was, saw us through 2WW’s, built the post war infrastructure all with very little debt.
    The slow destruction of the CBA including its activity of keeping the private banks honest by having to compete, has seen the commonality of a single income family paying off a house mortgage, car, annual holidays and free schooling disappear.
    You mention Ben Chifley, but it was John Curtin who said, “If government doesn’t control the financial system, it can only govern in a secondary degree.”

    That is what we have. Private foreign banks & bankers, dictating financial policy of the casino economy not just in OZ, but installing fascist austerity governments in Greece, Italy, Portugal, etc., & waging economic & NATO led provocations against the BRICS alternative of low interest development loans & win-win development projects.
    Wind & solar energy being rammed through, just as the ETS, is part of financial rip-off.
    There is a Green’s policy of high speed rail: Passengers have to pedal really, really fast.

    The 1933 Glass-Steagall Act of bank separation that worked for 66 years has been debated in many countries & are Resolutions before both USA Houses. Treasurer Ted Theodore wanted similar here & subsequently it was proven that Oz needn’t have suffered the effects of the Great Depression.
    Although G-S information was widely distributed to ALL Australian politicians they refuse to debate it, it has barely rated a mention in the media, & even many City Councils who lost money in their mandatory authorised investments were refused to have it placed on the ALGA agenda for debate.

    In case you missed it there is some interesting electricity pricing data at https://theconversation.com/electricity-prices-the-election-agenda-and-the-case-for-bipartisanship-61297

    It will be nice to see STT back at work.

    • Would you like to bring back the gold standard, too? Floating the dollar and bank deregulation were economic master strokes that, coupled with an independent Reserve Bank and inflation targets, freed up capital, encouraged foreign investment in productive and profitable sectors ie mining. The mining investment boom which followed (that directly employed hundreds of thousands and indirectly, millions) added to income growth and wealth like nothing else, since wool (briefly in the 1950s) and gold in the 1860s. Any sensible student of economics will note the Hawke/Keating reforms, even if they hate the characters, their politics or the short-term immediate results. The dairy industry is, by volume of production double what it was in the 1980s and 100 times what it was by volume of exports – think China and baby formula etc (all made possible by a floating dollar and cheap and readily available finance). Our acknowledgement of the fundamental economic reforms of the Hawke/Keating governments stands. We can’t blame either for the RET – that was a brain fart from conservative hero, John Howard.

  2. Billy Bunter says:

    STT and all readers I found this excellent article by Keith De Lacy in the OZ last Wednesday and thought that it contained a wealth of information that most in the MSM would not go near.

    I am pleased to advise that this story has been sent to The Vapid Premier Weatherill, his equally dim witted energy minister Turbo Tommy Koutsantonis and the State shadow energy spokesman Dan van holst Pellekan, who can’t understand why 500 good cable workers have lost their jobs at Leigh Creek and Port Augusta; and also federal Liberal member for Grey, Rohan Ramsey, who is more interested in donations from turbine hosts than protecting his constituents from the adverse effects of industrial WTGs being speared into their back yards.

  3. Vicky Maher says:

    STT readers, please forward this exceptional post to all your contacts and make sure they read it before 2 July.
    Victorians, vote 1 John Madigan in the Senate – MFP (look for the black square with Madigan in row AB about 3/4 across the page). South Australians, vote Bob Day (Family First). New South Welshmen, vote David Leyonhjelm (Liberal Democrats).

  4. William Gray says:

    I agree. I was surprised and heartened to read this broadside, especially as it was written by a Labor man, a man who has obviously done his homework and understands the full implications to the economy of doggedly pursuing this failed experiment. Hopefully another nail (or small tack) in the coffin of the wind fanatics and a win for commonsense. Shame we can’t get this out to the wider community.

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