Starting next week, hard-pressed households and battered businesses will start receiving power bills which will be between 16 and 20% higher than the same time last year. In Australia, the underlying rate of inflation is around 1.5%. Punitive power bills have left 25% of households unable to heat their homes during the depth of an Australian winter.
The primary cause of Australia’s rocketing power prices and unstable power grid is the Federal government’s Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target: the largest single industry subsidy scheme in the history of the Commonwealth, and the greatest mandated wealth transfer of all time.
The subsidies for large-scale wind and solar available under the Federal LRET now add $3 billion a year to all Australian power bills, have already added $15 billion to those power bills and, unless and until the LRET is capped or scrapped, will add a further $42 billion to Australian power bills between now and 2031, when the LRET expires (see our post here).
While householders freeze in the dark and businesses tighten their belts in an effort to stay solvent, politicians both left and right continue to run to the periphery, cooking up harebrained schemes they claim might save the grid and lower power prices, blaming everything except the bleeding obvious.
Targeting the bleeding obvious in this brilliant piece is The Australian’s Terry McCrann.
Why it’s time to abolish the Renewable Energy Target
25 July 2017
OF course the Renewable Energy Target should be abolished. Former — future? — prime minister Tony Abbott is absolutely right.
The RET is the fundamental reason that power prices across the nation have more than doubled to now be among the highest in the world in a country awash with the coal that used to give us the cheapest and most reliable power in the world.
The RET is also the fundamental reason not just South Australia — the home of Premier Jay ‘Tilting-At-Windmills’ Weather-dill — but all three southeastern mainland states face the risk of blackouts this summer.
And boy, non-gender specific, we haven’t seen anything yet. We are teetering on the edge of an energy apocalypse with what is still just a future (2020) RET target of 20 per cent — with more like only 6-8 per cent of electricity today actually coming from ‘real’ renewables (wind and solar).
And because they are still relatively new, we haven’t yet had to foot much of a bill for repair and replacement. As boy, still non-gender specific, we will. In spades. Many times over.
Think how much more expensive and unreliable the power behind your switches at home — and in your offices, and behind your computers and powering your broadband — will get, if Opposition Leader Bill Shorten ever gets his hands on the levers of government and sets out to lift the RET to 50 per cent.
Now, the odd thing is that ‘anyone’ could disagree with dumping the RET.
Those who understand basic reality — things like simple arithmetical, facts, ordinary logic, what works and what doesn’t, that sort of thing — know the RET is like the prime national suicide note, within the overall ‘covering suicide note’ of our commitment to cut carbon dioxide emissions under the fake Paris Accord.
While the ‘others’, the Climate Kool-Aid drinking renewables true believers should be entirely relaxed about the RET being abolished. They are now telling us that wind and solar electricity generation is now cheaper than coal-fired generation and getting ever cheaper every day. Well, if that’s true, why do we need a RET? Surely, the only power generation anyone would build from now on would be wind or solar?
Indeed, as President Trump could so easily declaim: there’d be so many turbines and panels, all across Australia, all pumping out power and profits, that the renewable energy industry would get sick of making so much money.
And doing so, all without a dime — sorry, Aussie cent — from either taxpayer or electricity consumer.
Except, you know the truth of that claim. In short, it is complete and utter garbage. You will have to abolish reality before wind and solar become cheaper than coal-fired power.
The only way they are ‘made cheaper’ is by imposing massive unjustified costs on coal-fired power and giving wind and solar massive direct and indirect subsidies.
And, even then, excusing them from having to provide their own power generation back-up for when, you know, “the wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine”.
Further, the way renewable energy is mandated to take priority access to power distribution when the wind does choose to blow (or the sun shine), it has the consequence of — insanely — turning baseload coal-fired generation into de facto ‘peaking’ plants, for which they are totally unsuited.
Again, we’ve only managed to avoid not just disaster but continuing disaster, literally day after day every day, because right now, despite being such a big part of SA’s energy mix, wind and solar are only a minor part of the overall SA-Victoria-NSW generation mix and most of the peaking is done by the ‘long extension cords’ linking the states and all of them being plugged into a reliable coal-fired power station.
There’s a simpler reason why the claim that wind and solar wind are now cheaper than coal is literally unbelievable.
US author Mary McCarthy (she wrote The Group, precursor by some decades to Sex and the City) could have been talking about climate change and wind and solar true believers when she said of playwright Lillian Hellman: every word she writes is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the’.
It’s the Senate Stupid
YES, the RET should be abolished. But abolition would also be utterly pointless.
That’s, pointless, if done or tried to be done by a future Coalition government — there’s no way in the world that the current Coalition government would even begin to think of doing that. The only way abolition of the RET would ‘work’ to deliver cheaper, more sustainable and the reliable power we used to have, is if it was done on a bipartisan basis.
The point of abolition is to encourage the building of new 21st century coal-fired plants. But no one will commit to the billions required, as long as there was the prospect of a future Labor-Green government bringing back a mandatory RET — with the guarantee of utterly wrecking both the financial and operational aspects of such a plant.
A similar basic reality also condemns the suggestion of switching to four-year fixed terms for federal parliament.
What cripples good government is not the parliamentary term but the Senate and in particular Labor’s refusal to support rational pro-Australia policy.
The only time in the last 30-plus years has sensible legislation got through the Senate and into law is when Labor was proposing it in the 1980s and the Coalition opposition supported it; and when the Howard-Costello Coalition government was able to ‘buy’ the precious couple of votes in the Senate over vehement, unrelenting and irrational Labor opposition.
You could give a government 10-year terms and it wouldn’t lead to good legislation given the feral Senate — only really made effective-feral by Labor cynicism and opportunism.
One thought on “SOS: Kill the Renewable Energy Target Before It’s All Too Late”
I am speechless. I don’t know where to begin to sort out this debacle. Suffice it to say, it would be easier and cheaper to run gas plants flat out, as all wind does is take 20% off your gas bill, For that small savings, you have to purchase and install the wind turbines and the necessary transmission lines, not to mention storage, frequency regulation, backup diesel generators, etc. Perhaps electrical generation should be left to utility executives and engineers rather than politicians and subsidy-seekers? Simply give them an emissions reduction target and let them figure out the best way to meet it.