Former PM – John Howard Calls Australia’s Renewables Policy a ‘National Scandal’

John Howard: Elder Statesman calls subsidy scam a National scandal.


John Howard was seen by many as the underdog of Australian conservative politics, who took more than two decades as a Federal MP to reach the position of Prime Minister, the victim of bitter internal political wrangling and intrigue within the Liberal Party.

After he was deposed as Liberal opposition leader by Andrew Peacock in a leadership coup in May 1989, Howard likened his chances of ever leading the Liberals again as that of “Lazarus with a triple bypass”.

Clearly the beneficiary of some cardiac miracle, John Howard became Australia’s 25th Prime Minister on 11 March 1996 and kept that post for over 11 years, until 3 December 2007, making him Australia’s second longest serving PM after Bob Menzies.

While Howard, as with any politician, had his critics, no one could question his devotion to principle and efforts to make Australia a prosperous and safe Nation.

Howard went to war with the gun lobby and farmers in rural and regional Australia over rules to ban automatic and semi-automatic firearms, after the dreadful Port Arthur massacre in 1996: 35 people were killed and 23 wounded by a single gunman acting alone.

A political master, Howard was able to draw all the states together on a wholesale tightening of firearms legislation: Australia is all the safer for it; and hasn’t suffered any mass shooting since.

Quite properly regarded as an Elder Statesman of Australian politics, Howard always had a brilliant touch with the “forgotten people” (the aspiring working classes, who toil away unnoticed, wanting only the best for their children and their country): who became known as “Howard’s battlers”.

That common touch hasn’t left Howard; his empathy with working Australians and those striving to make small businesses prosper had him on the front foot last week after the Liberal/National Federal Coalition released a budget which was indistinguishable from the tax-and-spend style of the Green/Labor Alliance that took government from Howard in 2007; which has left the Country mired in debt and the victim of seemingly permanent deficits.

Notwithstanding its importance, incredibly, energy policy barely rated a mention, which quite properly incensed the former PM.

Renewables policy a scandal, says John Howard
The Australian
Sid Maher and Andrew Burrell
12 May 2017

John Howard’s description of the looming energy crisis as a “scandalous policy failure of the first order”, and his verdict that the renewable­ energy target should never have been lifted above 2 per cent, have reignited calls for a national overhaul of climate policy.

Taking aim at the state of the nation’s electricity supplies, the former prime minister said the RET was 2 per cent when he left office in 2007 and should have remained at that level.

The national target is now about 23.5 per cent by 2020.

The annual price of the RET last year was likely to have been significantly above the 2015 level as the price of certificates soared in 2016, driven by a failure of investment in new renewable projects to keep up with the target.

The RET has been in the spotlight since a storm caused a statewide blackout last September in South Australia, which sources the majority of its electricity supply­ from renewables.

The failure to have gas available to alleviate the blackout sparked recriminations, including federal government intervention in the gas market, which has been hit by tight supplies.

The clean energy regulator expressed concern last year about whether the 33,000GWh target — about 23.5 per cent of total production — could be met by 2020.

Speaking in Perth yesterday, Mr Howard questioned why the nation’s looming energy crisis was barely mentioned in this week’s federal budget.

He blamed moves by some state governments to restrict or prohibit gas exploration for the potential shortage of gas on the east coast, which he labelled “a serious condemnation of our political process”.

“It will be a policy scandal of the first order if those sorts of restriction­s and the absolutely over-zealous growth of renewable energy targets … leads to massive increases in the cost of energy in different parts of the country,” he said.

Mr Howard said the challenge of affordable and sustainable energ­y had barely been mentione­d this week.

But he said Australia had 38 per cent of the world’s recoverable uranium reserves, hundreds of years of coal reserves and was a major natural gas producer.

The Australian Energy Council, which represents major electricity generators, said the RET was designed to support a carbon price, not act as a stand-alone emissions policy.

“For the past decade, the energy industry has been consistent in calling for an efficient, economy wide constraint on greenhouse emissions; that’s still what we want,” it said. “Our energy situation is the result of an inability to get durable and national policy rather than the RET itself.’’

Incentives to build renewables had also failed to acknowledge the need for security of supply, which had contributed to the situation in South Australia.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg declined to comment on Mr Howard’s remarks.
The Australian

In his piece, Sid Maher, a long-time apologist for renewable subsidy scammers included a run of propaganda (which we haven’t bothered to reproduce) from the Clean Energy Regulator, Kane Thorton – head spinner for the Clean Energy Council and Tony Wood from the Green-left think tank, the Grattan Institute – making a run of wild and desperate claims about, among other things, the Renewable Energy Target being satisfied.

For example, in claiming victory before the Senate, the CER has been counting the 2,000MW that would be generated by the Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro proposal as going to meet the target, even though the project is little more than an uncosted thought bubble, deemed uneconomic in the 1980s.

The existence of the LRET determines the existence of the wind industry the CER and CEC. Nobody in the business believes the current ultimate annual target of 33,000 GWh for the LRET will be met, given the nervousness of investors and the fact that the cost and chaos of Australia’s renewable policies is the target of people like John Howard, among others.

Here’s Alan Moran on the same warpath.

Cheap wind power the latest furphy in support of suicidal energy policies
Catallaxy Files
Alan Moran
8 May 2017

Hot of the press, The Australian is breathlessly reporting that Origin Energy has contracted to buy wind energy at $60 per MWh, a price that is comparable with contracted prices from coal. The article sees this as evidence that the gap between wind and fossil fuelled electricity is closing.

Just a moment’s hesitation would have made the journalist realise that something is wrong here. If the gap is closing why do we have the renewable energy subsidies and why are we bothering with not one but two Commonwealth reviews? After all if the gap is closing then we need no more subsidies.

The answer is that the price being paid does not include the subsidy to wind which is $90 per MWh – in other words, the wind is being purchased for $150 per MWh with most of this being provided as a backhander from other energy suppliers via their unwitting customers.

And it gets even worse. The intermittent nature of the renewable energy means it can only be worth as much as baseload or controllable supply (like hydro and fast start gas) as long as those supplies are available to balance renewables without them having to pay the premium required. Moreover, the intermittent nature of the wind and solar and its diverse locations means the consumer is having to pay much more for beefed up transmission and storage – both batteries and, the Turnbull joke of the month, pumped storage from the Snowy.

The disastrous energy policies that have been put in place since John Howard dipped our toes into the renewable con at the end of the last century is now bearing fruit with major closures of the unsubsidised plant bringing about contract prices now well above $100 per MWh, two to three times their average level 1999-2015.

Recognising one aspect of the impasse this has created and keen to buy support on other policies from Nick Xenophon, the Treasurer is said to be introducing a temporary electricity subsidy for those on lower incomes. This papers over one small crack in the price rise that ideological Green policies have created – policies for which Xenophon has been an arch protagonist.

As an earlier post emphasised, far more serious damage is being inflicted by the policies shifting Australia from among the lowest to among the highest cost electricity suppliers, thereby undermining one of the compensatory advantages to our self-inflicted burden of excessively priced and inflexible labour.

Belatedly, the Financial Review is coming round to this conclusion. In a fine article this morning Matthew Stevens draws from Glencore material which says we have just one year to clean up the energy mess (code for stop the bias against coal and the subsidies to high cost renewables) or we face a scaled up deindustrialisation. Glencore, as an overseas owned firm with no domestic retail customers, can speak out freely without inviting the Green chorus’s attack on its share price and customer base that most other firms would attract. But is anyone in authority listening?

The level of informed comment is so low that many see this graphic as proof that it is renewable energy and not fossil fuels that generate jobs growth.

It takes 79 people to generate one MWh of green energy and only one for coal (two for gas) so the future of jobs is in renewable. This sort of idiocy would of course justify us going even further and substituting bicycle generated electricity for solar/wind power, an action that would surely treble employment!

Actuated by a cacophony of ignorant green voices our policy makers in the Parliament and the bureaucracy have willingly adopted the slogans and logical inconsistencies of the anti-fossil fuel agenda and are plumping for lower living standards.

President Trump is nearing a decision on how to leave the Paris Agreement, the current driver of Australia’s energy policy. Whether the US decides to do this is by withdrawing from UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), submitting the Agreement as a treaty for the Senate’s confirmation or works from within the UNFCCC the Agreement, which Australia ratified the day after Trump’s election, is dead.

This is something that I have argued in my book, Climate Change: Policies and Treaties in the Trump Era, but which an army of government analysts fear to recognise.
Catallaxy Files

About stopthesethings

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


  1. “….induced by climate virtue-signalling, based on fake global warming scares and confected eco-hysteria.”
    This sounds like Ontario’s government with CBC providing a steady diet of ‘eco-hysteria’.

  2. charles wardrop says:

    Could this widespread crazy politicians’ response to a bogus scare have been fuelled by corruption? Seems the likeliest explanation?

  3. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  4. Peter Pronczak says:

    When the next heatwave strikes & people again die from heat exhaustion, those responsible for not ensuring adequate electricity for air conditioning, should be held responsible, as they should, or should have known, that it will happen.

  5. Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    “The disastrous energy policies that have been put in place since John Howard dipped our toes into the renewable con at the end of the last century is now bearing fruit with major closures of the unsubsidised plant bringing about contract prices now well above $100 per MWh, two to three times their average level 1999-2015.”

    2% renewable (unreliable) energy target, as Howard originally promoted, is still a gross waste of other people’s (taxpayers) money, induced by climate virtue-signalling, based on fake global warming scares and confected eco-hysteria.

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