Fossil Fuel Renaissance: Australia’s Energy Minister Promotes Coal-Powered Cars

Josh Frydenberg: master of the policy brain fart.


Just when you thought Australia’s Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg couldn’t get any more ridiculous, he outdoes himself.

Presiding over a self-inflicted power pricing and supply calamity (for which his Liberal/National Coalition is just as culpable as the Green/Labor Alliance that helped set it up), Frydenberg has spent the last fortnight or so pushing all electric vehicles. And when we say ‘pushing’ we mean dictating the terms on which the States will be bound to join the Commonwealth in subsidising all-EVs to the tune of $billions.

While there’s nothing wrong in theory about all-EVs, if they really were a sensible substitute for petrol or diesel-powered vehicles, they’d already be jumping off the shelves. Except, for some strange reason, they aren’t (we’ll leave that sitter to Judith Sloan in her ripping little article, below).

In yet another example of the nominally ‘conservative’ Liberal party acting more like the meddling, hard-‘green’-left, instead of letting Australian consumers pick their products, Frydenberg is determined to pick them for us.

Frydenberg says small electric cars pollute less
The Australian
Ben Packham
23 January 2018

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has rejected findings that electric vehicles charged on the national electricity grid have a bigger carbon footprint than conventional cars, staring down backbench critics of the electric car industry.

Mr Frydenberg yesterday re­iterated his view that the number of electric cars in Australia would jump from 4000 to one million by 2030, and said the government would continue to support this “very exciting sector”.

The minister has come under fire from colleagues who say promoting electric cars in Australia, with its heavy reliance on coal-fired power, won’t help the nation meet its Paris emissions targets.

Liberal MP Craig Kelly, backed by Nationals MPs Andrew Broad and John Williams, said they would raise the matter in the Coalition partyroom, arguing that there should be no further support given to the sector.

A report for the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development in 2016 found that the high reliance on coal-fired power in Victoria, NSW and Queensland meant electric vehicles charged on the grid in those states “have a higher CO2 output than those emitted from the tailpipes of comparative petrol cars”.

Mr Frydenberg identified several micro-sized electric vehicles that he said had smaller carbon footprints than comparable internal combustion vehicles.

“When taking into account the current average emissions of the national electricity grid, the Nissan Leaf and the Renault Zoe already produce less emissions per kilometre travelled when compared to an equivalent size ­vehicle,” he told The Australian.

“The emissions profile of EVs will decline as the grid becomes less emissions-intensive in the years ahead.”

The minister said the predicted surge in electric vehicles on the road would increase electricity demand by 2 per cent by 2030, which the Finkel review into energy security found could be “relatively easily managed”.

Resources industry sources said this was equivalent to new energy demand on the system of about half the output capacity of a coal-fired power station.

However, the Australian Energy Market Operator said this was “moderate” compared to the impact of rooftop solar and ­energy-efficiency initiatives.

Mr Frydenberg welcomed reports that British billionaire Sanjeev Gupta was seeking to buy some of Holden’s assets at its shuttered Adelaide factory with a view to building electric vehicles on the site. Mr Gupta has declined to comment on his plans, but the owner of the site said it welcomed the proposal.

The Electric Vehicle Council has called for subsidies of up to $7000 to encourage sales, including tax exemptions and the axing of stamp duty and registration charges by the states.

Mr Frydenberg has not ruled out such support, but yesterday said he was focused on ensuring sufficient charging stations were available to support the growing numbers of electric vehicles.

“When people come to make a decision about the vehicle they purchase, they want to make sure that if they do purchase an electric vehicle that they can plug it in when they go on a long road trip and the infrastructure is consistent throughout the country,” he said. “So there are some logistical issues that we will co-operate closely with state and local governments on.”

Opposition finance spokesman Jim Chalmers said Labor wanted more electric vehicles.
The Australian

Hey, if you think SA’s mega-battery’s a lemon, wait till you drive my Tesla 3.


Josh Frydenberg should get out more (or get advisers that know how to use Google).

While Josh talks up the Nissan Leaf, hopeful buyers Downunder looking to snap one up to replace their diesel-thirsty Land Cruiser will be left with nothing but bitter disappointment.

Nissan launched its compact little all-EV to much fanfare a few years ago. But, for some strange reason, has quietly and unceremoniously dumped the model from its Australian line up – this from the Nissan website:

And those shattered by the fact that Nissan’s Leaf has gone the way of the Tasmanian tiger, might think very carefully about lining up to buy one of Californian carpetbagger, Elon Musk’s Tesla 3s: Tesla employees say to expect more Model 3 delays, citing inexperienced workers, manual assembly of batteries

One lady who is unlikely to catch Frydenberg’s EV fever is The Australian’s economics editor, Judith Sloan.

Subsidise electric cars? You must be kidding, Mr Frydenberg
The Australian
Judith Sloan
23 January 2018

Did you see that puff piece extolling the benefits of subsidising electric vehicles? Yes, the one written by Energy and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg. It was a wonder it didn’t come with the warning: sponsored content.

What was he thinking? If there ever was a country less suited to electric vehicles, it’s Australia.

I always get a good chuckle reading those travelogue pieces written by journalists given a loan of a top-of-the-line Tesla. In order to keep in sweet with the company, there are always the predictable paragraphs about the wonderful fitout, the quietness, the speed.

And then there are paragraphs outlining imminent nervous breakdowns as the calculations are made about the probability of reaching the next fast-charge outlet. And the frustration of having to wait to get on to the bowser (or whatever it’s called) and the time taken to recharge.

But hang on a minute: where does the power come from? From the electricity grid, of course. You know the one that is very close to shutting down on hot days, the one increasingly reliant on intermittent wind and solar power with reliable coal-fired plants forced to close.

But greenies, environmentalists and Josh can’t seem to get enough of electric vehicles. Norway is often cited as the pin-up boy — or should that be pin-up girl? — when it comes to subsidies being thrown at electric vehicles.

There is no stamp duty on EVs there; there are no annual registration fees on EVs there; there are no road tolls for EVs there; there is free car-ferry travel for EVs there; there is free recharge at the plentiful — in the cities at least — recharge sites.

Is it any wonder the people who can stump up the still substantial capital outlay for an EV in Norway do so? EVs now make up 5 per cent of all cars in that country.

But just in the nick of time, this example of rampant crony capitalism is being called into question. Who is paying for these subsidies? By and large, it is other motorists who are taxed extremely highly and electricity customers. And these people are considerably less well-off than the smug EV owners.

There was hope a domestic EV industry would flourish in Norway, but it was quickly run over by Tesla and all EVs are now imported. This is the case in Australia too, although EVs make up only 0.1 per cent of our fleet.

But Josh wants more EVs for Australia. He brags about the subsidies being thrown at the sector by various federal agencies. And he wants the states and territories to do more. Perhaps he has the Norwegian example in mind?

He even quotes an estimate of the CSIRO that a shift to EVs in Australia could save 15 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030. Given our annual emissions are currently about 550 million tonnes, this is simply peanuts.

And it’s not clear whether this paltry figure takes into account the CO2 emitted as a consequence of the production of EVs. And then there is the tricky issue of the short life of the batteries and the problems associated with their disposal.

The EV scam has all the hallmarks of the home solar PV scam. Offer obscenely high feed-in tariffs paid for by other electricity customers (and taxpayers, in some instances), suggest that people are doing something to help the planet and hoover up votes.

Josh obviously thinks you can rinse and repeat this swindle with electric vehicles — all in the name of doing the right thing by the environment. The trouble for him is that it involves one of the highest abatement costs around.

By all means, I say, buy an EV if you want to. Just don’t expect other motorists and electricity consumers to pay for your virtue-signalling.
The Australian

Jay Weatherill’s diesel-fuelled jet engines, ready to recharge your Tesla 3.


What’s being touted as the clean/green transport revolution by Frydenberg requires the suspension of disbelief. And, in part, that involves ignoring the fact that 85% of the power that’s delivered through Australia’s electricity grid comes from coal-fired power plant. When the sun goes down and the wind stops blowing (or blows too hard) it’s either coal, gas or hydro, in that order; call it a ‘fossil-fuel conspiracy’, but those virtuous watts promised to be delivered from nature’s wonder fuels, the sun and wind, can’t be bought at any price.

So, anyone keen to signal their ‘green’ virtues by jumping behind the wheel of a Tesla or Nissan Leaf (if they ever decide sell them in Australia) should dangle a lump of coal from the rear-view mirror, in honour of its true power source. Because, in reality, they’ll have recharged their buzz boxes by plugging into a coal-fired grid: anyone driving an all-EV in Australia is really driving an all-coal-powered car.

In South Australia, the virtuous might just as well go out and buy a diesel powered Volkswagen, because (apart from the coal-fired power it imports from Victoria on a daily basis) a fair proportion of its power is generated with diesel engines, including Jay Weathrill’s latest purchase – 276 MW of diesel fuelled jet engines, that cost taxpayers $400m.

And it’s good to see that Josh Frydenberg has got his priorities in order.

This is a country where, when temperatures rise and the wind stops blowing, hospitals are being forced to power down, and energy hungry businesses are unceremoniously chopped from the grid (under the rubric of ‘demand management’); 42,000 families can no longer afford electricity at all, and power prices are going through the roof.

With electricity a scarce and expensive commodity in this country, just how Frydenberg expects to charge the batteries of millions of Teslas is beyond a mystery. It’s delusional. But that’s our Energy Minister…

Nissan’s coal-fired Leaf: for some reason, not for sale in Oz.

About stopthesethings

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


  1. Loonies

  2. In his younger days Josh Frydenberg was a fair to average tennis player. There were some among us who once considered him a rising young star of the Liberal Party. But as time passes it becomes more and more obvious that as Minister for Environment and Energy, Josh rates better as a fair to average tennis player.
    Whether it’s Captain Waffle breathing down his neck, or whether it’s the realisation that come next election the burgeoning ranks of concrete Greens in his once safe seat of Kooyong will almost certainly give him the heave-ho? With each new policy decision more bizarre than the last, his total lack of understanding of what is needed in order to return affordability and reliability to Australia’s energy markets becomes more obvious. His recent rantings about the supposed merits of electric cars put him on somewhere near the same intelligence level as a Jay Weatherill or a Daniel Andrews.

  3. Weasels 2 Go says:

    Fryup must be removed from the kitchen and placed with Turnwhistle in the Chookyard

  4. Terry Conn says:

    The current colt from Kooyong should be gelded – at the neck! The rubbish coming out from the ‘professional elites’ in the Coalition would be funny if they were not the ‘government’ – Canberra ‘group think’ has become a very disabling disease and, unfortunately, it effects the entire nation.

  5. Ohhh! Just when I thought that the Liberal Party’s insane economic policies flowing out of the climate change scam couldn’t get any worse, along comes Mr Frydenberg – who must be competing with the SA Premier for the Australian Looney Tunes political-economy award of the 21st Century.

    But a shred of good news has just come to hand. The fund established to defend Dr Peter Ridd of James Cook University against disciplinary action by the university’s administration (intended to sack him) has reached its target – and within just a few days of the fund opening. Over 830 individuals have donated over $95K to fund the legal expenses in the Federal Court for Dr Ridd’s defence against the university’s action. This level of public support is a truly extraordinary occurrence for Australia and indicates the depth of concern in the public domain about the way science has been prostituted by academic institutions to serve the climate change alarmist proposition – by the suppression of dissenting scientific opinions. Dr Ridd’s offence is that he publicly questioned the scientific validity of some of the research on the Great Barrier Reef that purports that the reef is in danger from climate change. Dr Ridd’s court case is likely to become something of a cause célèbre in the service of empirical science. That this has become necessary is an indictment on the degraded state of academic institutions in Australia which have debased themselves in the service of the political juggernaut of climate change alarmist assertions.

    History tells us that the suppression of dissenting scientific opinions has often been a common practice if the dissenting scientist challenges reigning orthodoxies. A few famous names that should come readily to mind of people in academia are Louis Pasteur (Microbiology), Alfred Wegener (Continental Drift), and Ignaz Semmelweis (Antisepsis). For his trouble, Semmelweis was incarcerated by his medical peers in a Viennese insane asylum in 1865 where he was severely beaten by the guards, secured in a straightjacket, and confined in a darkened cell. He died there after just two weeks of incarceration at aged 47, due to wounds received. One hopes that Dr Ridd will secure a happier fate.

    • Son of a goat says:

      “The degraded state of academic institutions………”
      I wont have it.

      One only has to look at the comments on twitter from a Professor of Sociology to know that the youth of today are in good hands.

  6. Son of a goat says:

    Mr Frydenberg is the elected Federal member for the blue ribbon seat of Kooyong. A seat formerly held by Andrew Peacock the former opposition leader for the Liberals, a colourful identity in the 1970’s and 80’s of Australian politics who for one reason or another was known as the “colt from Kooyong.”

    Unfortunately for the Australian power consumer, Frydenberg is more like the “gelding of Kooyong” seemingly having a bet each way on the energy debate and not serving any useful purpose.

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