Suicidal Tendencies: Australia’s Renewable Energy Target a $60 Billion Business & Job Destroyer

For those, like STT, attempting to expose the greatest economic and environmental fraud of all time, it sometimes feels like bashing our heads against a brick wall. 

However, every now and again, it feels like our masonry masochism has paid off.

Last Friday we awoke to see the top story on the front page of Australia’s only National broadsheet, The Australian spelling out the insane cost of Australia’s Renewable Energy Target.

STT has been laying out the numbers for years, while those profiting handsomely from the greatest government mandated wealth transfer in the history of the Commonwealth, have worked overtime to suppress them.

Indeed, in the same edition, wind-scammers, AGL ran a full-page ad featuring its stock smarmy hipster git standing in a paddock next to AGL’s public health calamity at Macarthur in western Victoria.

Hilariously, the ad claimed that the only way to cut power prices is to ensure that AGL gets to spear even more massively subsidised wind turbines across the Country. The punchline was in the first line, “Let’s be honest”.

So, STT was delighted with the headline below, with a number so horrifyingly large that it literally screamed economic and social blue murder.

The cost of going green: taxpayers hit with a $60bn power bill
The Australian
Adam Creighton and Joe Kelly
1 September 2017

Taxpayers will have paid more than $60 billion through federal renewable energy subsidies by 2030, about twice what the crumbling car industry received over 15 years and enough to build about 10 large nuclear reactors.

The government’s large and small-scale renewable energy ­targets, which will compel energy retailers to buy 33 terawatt hours of wind, solar and hydro energy by 2030, will deliver about $45bn of subsidies to renewable energy producers over 20 years, according to analysis by The Australian.

The grab bag of direct subsidies from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation — which have spent or lent concessionally, respectively, $870 million in grants since 2010, and $4.3bn since 2013 — are on top of that.

Meanwhile, the proposed clean energy target arising from the government’s Finkel review, would mandate a further 33TWh of ­energy from renewable sources, costing an extra $11.3bn over the 10 years to 2030.

Government MPs yesterday sounded the alarm over the subsidies and called for clarity over government plans for a new coal-fired power station.

The chairman of the Coalition backbench committee for energy, Craig Kelly, described the costs of the subsidies as an “appalling waste” resulting from an “ideological rush to renewables”.

“No one will ever be able to compute the full opportunity cost of the alternate productive assets that this capital could have been invested in,” Mr Kelly said.

“We already have some of the highest electricity prices in the world. And what industry will we still have if we go down this track?”

Victorian Nationals MP Andrew Broad, chairman of the standing committee on the environment and energy, said the RET should be scrapped to allow renewables to compete on merit.

“To spend all that money and still have expensive power prices means the settings are all wrong,” Mr Broad said.

The Productivity Commission found the automotive industry received the equivalent of about $30bn of industry assistance between 1997 and 2012. It estimated up to 40,000 people might lose their jobs following the withdrawal of Toyota, Holden and Ford as carmakers in Australia, including job losses along the supply chain.

The 39 renewable energy projects under construction or being completed this year have created 4400 jobs, according to the Clean Energy Council’s latest figures.

ACIL Allen Consulting chief executive Paul Hyslop yesterday told a parliamentary inquiry that it was more cost-effective to hold off any investment decisions in low-emissions technologies under renewable energy schemes until the “last possible minute”.

“Solar costs have probably fallen 75 to 80 per cent in the last six or seven years,” Mr Hyslop told the energy and environment committee. “If we had not done anything seven years ago and today we then did all those things, we could have … two to three times as much solar (energy generation) in roofs for the same amount of investment over that period.

“If you think that the cost of ­renewables and low-emissions technology is falling rapidly, absolutely put it off for as long as possible.”

The Victorian government last week announced a 25 per cent RET by 2025, following South Australia’s 50 per cent target by 2025 and a 100 per cent target in the ACT.

Economist Geoffrey Carmody, a founder of Deloitte Access Economics, suggested solving the “trilemma” of low-emissions, reliable and low-cost energy should include nuclear power. The South Australian royal commission into nuclear power put the cost of a large-scale nuclear reactor at $9.3bn.

“If we sweep nuclear energy off the table in favour of renewables, achieving these three conflicting objectives with one instrument — renewable energy — is numerical nonsense,” Mr Carmody said.

Australia is the only G20 country to have banned nuclear power.

Mr Broad suggested yesterday that to provide investment certainty, the government could consider setting a higher emissions intensity threshold of 0.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour as part of any clean-energy target for some projects — the terms of which could be reviewed after a set period of eight to 10 years.

“I think we’ve got to do something to create certainty in the market,” Mr Broad said.

He said a lower threshold of 0.6 tonnes — the scenario modelled by chief scientist Alan Finkel in his review into the national electricity market — would not cover a new coal-fired power station, although Dr Finkel has said the difference between the two thresholds would “not be substantial”.

The construction of a new 1000MW high-efficiency, low-emissions coal-fired power station has been estimated at $2.2bn according to an analysis compiled by power and energy specialists GHD and Solstice Development Services.

It found such a plant would deliver the cheapest electricity on the market.

Malcolm Turnbull this week opened the door to using finance from a $5bn federal infrastructure fund to help build a coal-fired power station.

Mr Kelly said yesterday a decision on a new plant needed to be made urgently because the 45-year-old Liddell coal-fired power station near Muswellbrook, NSW, was scheduled for closure in 2022 and it would take at least five years to build a new plant. He said it made sense for any new coal-fired power plant to be built in NSW instead of Queensland.

Queensland LNP leader Tim Nicholls is pledging to fast-track a project using the latest high-energy low-emissions technology to be built and run by the private sector.

“We basically need a decision on that by early next year,” Mr Kelly said. “A HELE plant would favourable.”
The Australian

Craig Kelly: STT Champion & Champion of the People.

 

Liberal MP, Craig Kelly is an example of a rare and endangered species: a politician acutely aware of the causes and consequences of Australia’s self-inflicted power pricing and supply calamity; and, even rarer still, a man with the guts and determination required to fix it.

STT hears that Craig is about to drop a bombshell in the Parliament, by introducing his own Bill to cut the cost of the shortfall penalty attached to the Large-Scale RET.

Because the current LRET target of 33,000 GWh (which takes effect in 2020 and runs until 2031) will never be satisfied, retailers will be hit with the shortfall penalty at a cost to them of $65 per MWh (and $93 per MWh for their customers) for every MWh they fall short of the target.

On the renewable energy output numbers at present, the shortfall penalty will tack around $1.5 billion annually on top of already rocketing retail power bills. The shortfall penalty is a hidden Federal tax on all Australian power consumers, that will add close to $20 billion to their power bills over the life of the LRET: It’s Time for Frydenberg & Turnbull to Come Clean on the Cost of Subsidised Wind Power 

The purpose of Craig’s bill is to slash that tax. As far as cutting power prices goes, getting rid of the shortfall penalty is the first and most obvious step. A whole lot more effective than putting power retailers on double secret probation.

Malcolm Turnbull must have thought that the political theatre of dragging the bosses of power retailers to Canberra to give them a ticking off over rocketing power prices worked so well the first time, that it was worth doing it all over again. So, he did. This time directing them all to write letters telling their customers that if they are clever and quick enough they might be able to squeeze a discount of a couple of percent out of AGL, Origin and the rest of the gang for a few weeks until they jack the price up, again.

Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, springs to mind. The Australian’s Editor chimed in with much the same point.

A fresh light on energy price and supply woes
The Australian
Editorial
1 September 2017

For the sake of the economic health of the nation, business, jobs, struggling households and his own electoral chances, Malcolm Turnbull cannot afford to fiddle around any longer before tackling Australia’s energy crisis. Handled well, the issue would be an election winner for the Coalition, as it should be a winner for a nation endowed with some of the richest energy resources in the world. Labor warhorse Graham Richardson nailed the politics when he wrote that a frustrated electorate was growing “angrier by the hour” after power price rises of up to 50 per cent in recent years.

US billionaire Hamdi Ulukaya, owner of America’s top selling Greek yoghurt brand, Chobani, dismayed by the doubling of his firm’s local energy bill in 12 months, was right during his visit to Melbourne when he said Australia “should be the least expensive energy place in the whole universe”.

Today’s analysis by economics correspondent Adam Creighton should galvanise the Prime Minister, and the states if they are prepared to consider the facts dispassionately, into enacting rational, cost-effective energy policies. Creighton reveals that, at federal level alone, total renewable energy subsidies will have cost up to $60 billion by 2030. That is twice what our crumbling car industry received in the 15 years to 2012.

It would build 10 large nuclear reactors, an option long dismissed by politicians as too expensive. Present policies provide an exorbitant taxpayer-funded windfall for renewable energy producers for little if any public benefit. However inefficient, car industry subsidies protected about 40,000 jobs. By comparison, 39 renewable energy projects under construction or being completed this year have created 4400 jobs, according to the Clean Energy Council.

The figures demonstrate why the federal opposition and Labor states have put consumers on a hiding to nothing with their ideological commitment to renewable energy in the cause of reducing global warming emissions — of which Australia’s falling share is 1.4 per cent. That is why the government should proceed cautiously in considering the Finkel review’s recommendation for a clean energy target, on top of the present 23.5 per cent renewable energy target. Bill Shorten is also pushing for a CET but has yet to detail how Labor would achieve its ambitious 50 per cent RET goal. A CET could entail mandating a further 33 terawatt hours of energy from renewable sources, costing an extra $11.3bn across 10 years to 2030.

Mr Turnbull blundered on Monday when he told ABC television he had “no plans” to build a new coal-fired power station. On Wednesday, wisely, he opened the door to the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility backing such a plant, which would use the latest high-energy, low-emissions technology. He also said a CET would be no barrier to coal. After meeting Mr Turnbull in Sydney, energy company chiefs agreed to write to households to advise them of price discounts.

After months of uncertainty, the key to the Turnbull government helping Australia regain what was a central comparative advantage is better harnessing coal and gas. On present technology, spending tens of billions of dollars in pursuit of emissions cuts by subsidising renewable energy producers is not economically viable.
The Australian

The Australian’s Editor quotes an American yoghurt maker, Hamdi Ulukaya wailing about the cost of powering his operation in Australia. Hamdi, in another Australian article and elsewhere, went on to claim that Australian power prices should be the cheapest in the world because it has oodles of wind and gas (he called it “heaven”). Hamdi might have overlooked South Australia when that thought bubble popped into his head.

South Australia sure enough gets between 500 and 700 MW of its daily demand via interconnectors from coal-fired power plant located in Victoria (having blown up its last coal-fired power plant earlier this year), but otherwise it runs on wind and gas. Although, in order to keep the lights on this summer and beyond, SA will be running on diesel fuelled jet engines.

Wind and gas powered South Australians pay the highest power prices in the world, triple the average retail price paid in Hamdi’s home turf, the US of A; for its battling constituents, South Australia is now a lot less like “heaven” and a whole lot more like the heathen’s alternative .

We’re not sure who put an American yoghurt maker forward as an ‘expert’ on electrical engineering and power market economics (we suspect AGL, not least because the chaos of wind allows them to rort the market using their gas-fired peaking plants, which is how they make their $billions), but if anybody is interested in what happens when you run on wind and gas, South Australia is the prime example (see below); and it was AGL that set it up to run that way.

Where The Australian gets it dead right, is that spending tens of billions of dollars subsidising renewable energy producers is not economically viable.

We have said it before and we will keep saying it: Australia’s Renewable Energy Target is unsustainable; and any policy which is unsustainable will collapse under its own imponderable weight, or its creators will be forced, ignominiously, to scrap it.

More power to Craig Kelly.

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Take a look at the ‘spin’ in this publication: http://reneweconomy.com.au/interview-aemos-zibelman-says-system-black-was-wake-up-call-50392/
    It’s important to go after the sources of this sort of information and get rid of them.

    • Jim Wiegand - Wildlife Biologist says:

      “Audrey Zibelman has only been in Australia and in her role as chief executive of the Australian Energy Market Operator for six weeks, but already her views on the changes needed to adapt rapidly to a modern grid and new technologies are being described – both within her organisation, and in the broader energy industry – as a breath of fresh air”.

      “Never before has Australia had a senior executive in the energy industry being so up-front about the possibilities of new technologies, and so enthusiastic about the changes that lie ahead. She is convinced the gird will change dramatically, and will be cheaper, cleaner, smarter and more reliable. And focused around the consumer.” One problem with these self-serving opinions or lies, is that the public has been hearing the pretty much the same bubble-head talk for 40 years. In the end taxpayers pay for a useless product and they get to fill their bank accounts. Another problem, when an expert like me tells the truth, I get an audience of 1000. When they tell their horrendous lies, they get an audience of a million.

  2. Jim Wiegand - Wildlife Biologist says:

    Wind energy is the greatest economic and environmental fraud of all time. Making matters worse, reported production numbers for wind are nothing but self serving lies. In America energy providers and corporate interests are soaking consumers by selling them very expensive green energy, then they soak taxpayers for Production Tax Credits when a large portion of green energy they are claiming, is lost on the grid. It never reaches consumers.
    Australia is probably being exposed to this fraud as well.
    CA is a leader in this corporate influenced green energy fraud. Over a third of California’s energy consumption is being imported and these numbers are growing annually. The source for most this energy, coal, nuclear and naturals gas. Just the unreported losses from transmitting all this energy from 7 other states, exceeds all the wind energy being produced in CA.
    As stupid and corrupt as this is……….It has been great for green energy profits.

  3. Terry Conn says:

    The $60 billion is only the tip of the economically disastrous iceberg in respect to renewables because it is a $60 billion investment that causes loss of businesses large and small that employ millions of people across the country and causes every consumer to have less money for goods and services, less taxes will be available for government largesse and so on down in a negative economic spiral until lights out. Add to that the environmental devestation of thousands more acres of farmland, death to untold numbers of birds and bats, destruction of more rural communities and causing more personal injury from all types of ‘noise’ audible and inaudible. Turnbull and Frydenberg are stark raving mad in not abandoning the RET and indeed not banning more wind farms – their further complicating of their failures by rearranging the ‘deck chairs on the titanic’ proves beyond doubt the depths of their blindness.

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