Renewable Target Revolt: Desperate Coalition MPs Demand New HELE Coal Plants

H-E-L-E spells V-O-T-E-S …

 

In Canberra, the politics of power has become a veritable powder keg for the patrician and aloof PM, Malcolm Turnbull. His hapless sidekick, Josh Frydenberg will go down in history as the man who, almost single-handedly, destroyed Australia’s enviable wealth and hard fought for prosperity.

As power hungry businesses have just worked out, Australia’s Large-Scale RET is a one-way ticket to oblivion. However, no amount of howling from miners like Glencore and BHP seems to work on Frydenberg, who was long ago slipped into the pockets of Australia’s renewable rent seekers.

Every utterance from Frydenberg astounds; the man’s hubris is only matched by his lack of wit.

Within the Liberal and National Coalition there is a sense of fear and dread at what voters will do to them, come the next election (they can expect a bloodbath in Queensland).

Power consumer fury is not going away. Indeed, the only way for retail power prices is up. For so long as Australia has a market distorting, $3 billion a year tax on retail power bills (delivered as subsidies to wind and solar outfits in the form of Renewable Energy Certificates), retail power prices can only rise: between now and 2020, STT expects them to fully double, again, as the LRET annual target hits 33,000 GWh (it’s 26,000 GWh now).

So, a little fear and loathing in the Coalition Party Room is understandable.

New coal power flashpoint for PM
The Australian
David Crowe
31 August 2017

The Coalition risks another revolt on energy policy as ­MPs urge the Prime Minister to scale back plans for a clean energy ­target and ramp up support for a new coal-fired power station, putting cost-of-living pressures before action on climate change.

The Prime Minister declared a new power station could gain ­finance from a $5 billion federal fund but his Queensland colleagues are demanding he go further to deliver baseload power amid fears of soaring electricity bills this summer.

Two days after he said the government had “no plans” to build a coal power station, Mr Turnbull opened the door to using federal funds to back one in Queensland, a move that won praise from his predecessor, Tony Abbott.

The uncertainty in ­Canberra is fuelling frustrations within the Liberal National Party over the possibility Mr Turnbull could cruel the LNP’s chances at a state election that could be called within weeks if he retreats on coal power.

Queensland Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls declared the federal debate “irrelevant” to his pledge to fast-track a project using the latest high-energy, low-emissions (HELE) technology, to be built and run by the private sector in the north of the state if he wins government.

“We don’t take our riding instructions from Canberra,” Mr Nicholls said. “Their view on this is irrelevant to the decision and the position that we take here in Queensland.”

Some of Mr Turnbull’s colleagues saw his remarks yesterday as a correction to his declaration on ABC TV on Monday night that he had “no plans” to build a new coal power station, given the strong reaction from Queenslanders who want one built.

Mr Turnbull said he was not aware of any “specific” proposals but a new project could “well qualify” for funding from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, which has $5bn to offer in concessional loans to private projects.

“Let me be very clear about this: certainly Australia has a vested interest in at least a demonstration of HELE technology here — I’ve been making that point, as I said, for the best part of a decade,” he said.

The comments were in line with remarks in June from Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce and earlier comments from Queensland Nationals senator Matt Canavan, who stepped down from the resources portfolio last month.

Mr Abbott interpreted Mr Turnbull’s comments as a show of support for coal-fired power in the wake of the Prime Minister’s vocal support for spending billions of dollars to expand the capacity of the Snowy Hydro power scheme. “If we’re prepared to go ahead with pumped hydro and we are neutral on technology we certainly should be prepared to go ahead with a new coal-fired power station,” Mr Abbott told 2GB. “In the end, we are going to need more baseload and the only efficient, reliable and affordable baseload is coal.”

The government has a 23.5 per cent renewable energy target but is considering a more ambitious clean energy target recommended by chief scientist Alan Finkel — a proposal backed by industry but opposed by a bloc within the Coalition partyroom.

Mr Turnbull emerged from a meeting with energy company chiefs in Sydney yesterday to say a proposal on the clean energy target would emerge “shortly” and would not be a barrier to coal power. While the meeting agreed to send letters to households to tell them of price discounts, Origin chief Frank Calabria said the government had to decide an energy policy to offer households “lasting” relief on prices.

“We urgently need a clean energy target to guide the necessary investment in new energy supply,” Mr Calabria said.

EnergyAustralia chief Catherine Tanna said the agreement on retail measures was a “great step” but any changes had to be part of a national approach on every link in the energy chain.

Federal Coalition MPs held a long partyroom debate on energy in June that ended with the shelving of the clean energy target while the government waited for advice from the Australian Energy Market Operator on whether there was enough baseload power in the east coast grid. The AEMO report is due to go to the government within days.

Renewed debate could flare at any time as the MPs who are sceptical about a clean energy target push for the use of fossil fuels despite attacks from Labor and the Greens. Queensland MP George Christensen, whose electorate of Dawson is a potential site for a new power station, said: “I think affordability has got to take priority and in north Queensland, at least, a coal-fired power station will deliver affordable power more than anything else.”

Mr Christensen said he was “extremely sceptical” about a clean energy target and could not support one if it pushed up prices.

Fellow Queensland LNP backbencher David Littleproud called for the expansion of the coal-fired power stations in his electorate of Maranoa as well as the use of renewables, blaming the state Labor government for extracting dividends from state-owned energy companies in a move that pushed up prices.
The Australian

David Crowe needs to dig a little deeper. At last count, there are 25 Liberal and National MPs who have not only rejected Finkel’s 42% RET (aka CET), but who have also determined to destroy the current LRET, which would represent around 26% of demand by 2020. As pointed out in Sunday’s post, the Federal LRET is a $60 billion business and jobs destroyer that simply has to go.

Australia’s future economic health depends upon scrapping the LRET, right now. Oh, and then there’s the small matter of the political futures of dozens of Liberal and National MPs. Over to you Malcolm.

Turnbull & Frydenberg become renewable energy targets.

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Jackie Rovensky says:

    If the Federal Liberals do not get rid of Turnbull from the top job they will definitely see their downfall at the next election. He has proven to be a waste of space and devoid of the capacity to do the right thing when it is not what he wants to do.
    He is so compromised and I notice some of his friendly reporters at the ABC have begun to cheer him on re renewables, its time he stopped listening to them and started listening to the people.
    The RET and the push for unreliable renewables has sent this country not into the doldrums but into drastic decline.
    The sooner this industry has its umbilical cord cut from its mother the idiots in Federal Parliament and that includes Labor and Green members, the better.
    It has to stand on its own, it should not be continually supported when it has not proven to be capable of providing what it promised.
    SA is just the beginning, Victoria is in a desperate situation with the number of turbines proposed for its Western Districts.
    HOW anyone can continue to support something so dangerous to the stability of this nation is frightening.
    Or are those supporting it being controlled by people without Australia’s interests in their hearts and minds? I think we all know the answer?
    We need at least one base-load coal plant in each State to ensure our future.
    Mr Turnbull currently you are our ‘leader’ and therefore are meant to look to our best interests not those of an industry you support or an ideology you have taken on to the detriment of those you are meant to ‘lead’.

  2. Son of a Goat says:

    Glad to see AGL’s Desert Head getting exposed for his outspoken and hypocritical views on energy policy.
    I’m happy to contribute to a fund to send him back home to the USA………via North Korea.

  3. Terry Conn says:

    David Crowe is so pro Turnbull he can never see the absurdity of Turnbull and Frydenberg’s totally stupid commitment to the LRET. If the rest of the coalition doesn’t revolt and demand to scrap it now then it will be the final nail in the coffin for this hapless government and it will be bye bye liberal party.

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