Lunatic’s Paradise: SA Voters’ Last Chance to Curb Renewable Energy Insanity

Premier Lunatic: in charge of the Asylum, for now…


South Australia is renowned as a renewable energy ‘superpower’, which has left it with the highest retail power prices in the world and the most unreliable grid on the planet (Burkina Faso, Cuba and North Korea aside).

As this post goes to air, officials will soon start counting votes in SA’s State election. Pundits have touted it as a referendum on renewables.

In the lead up to the election, its deranged Premier, Jay Weatherill announced a 75% Renewable Energy Target, to squeals of delight from his fellow wind cultists.

Back on Earth, though, the economic reality attached to SA’s obsession with sunshine and breezes is the destruction of private enterprise: mining, manufacturing, aquaculture, irrigated agriculture and much more besides. Pretty soon, the only ‘industry’ in South Australia will be siphoning money from taxpayers to build second-rate submarines, and the pointless erection of windmills and overhyped mega-batteries. Here’s a pretty fair summation of the economic disaster that’s befallen SA.

SA Labor’s passion for renewable energy is madness
The Australian
Daniel Wild
16 March 2018

Tomorrow’s election in South Australia will be a referendum on electricity and renewable energy. If re-elected, Labor has promised to double down on its favouritism of renewables by increasing South Australia’s renewable energy target to 75 per cent by 2025. This is madness.

South Australia already has one of the most reckless energy policies in Australia, with heavy confiscation of taxpayer funds and forced cross-subsidisation feeding the present 50 per cent renewables target.

And with the rise of renewables have come skyrocketing prices, reduced supply reliability and economic dislocation.

Recent analysis by the Australian Energy Council shows electricity prices in South Australia during the recent summer were about 260 per cent higher than in the summer of 2014-15. That is an eye-watering 41 times the growth in average wages.

It is no wonder businesses and people are fleeing the state. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, private-sector business investment in South Australia has collapsed by 29 per cent in just three years.

The unemployment rate sits at 6 per cent, the second highest in the country behind Queensland. And 23,000 people have abandoned South Australia over the past five years for a future elsewhere.

Beneath these statistics are real people and businesses that have been thrown against the rocks.

According to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, the annual electricity bill for a South Australian small-to-­medium enterprise is $16,000.

Imagine if just half of that could go to higher wages instead of paying the bills. In June last year, a family-run recycling business in Kilburn, in Adelaide’s inner north, announced it would be closing after 38 years, putting 35 people out of work.

The trigger was a spike in its monthly electricity bill from $80,000 to $180,000.

And even South Australia’s world-class wine region isn’t safe. According to the ACCC, a large winery in South Australia faced a 160 per cent annual increase to its electricity costs, seriously jeopardising its export potential.

The culprit for this damage is renewable energy, and the shortsighted government policy that forces it on the market too early and in too great a quantity.

First, renewable energy is more expensive than coal. If this were not the case, then there would be no need for it to be sub­sidised.

Yet, as analysis on these pages last September showed, the renewables industry is set to receive $60 billion in subsidies by 2030.

Second, renewables are unreliable. According to the Clean Energy Regulator, in 2016-17 coal-fired stations in the National Energy Market operated at 76 per cent capacity, while wind operated at just 32 per cent capacity.

And during January and last month, wind farms in South Australia operated at less than 50 per cent of their registered capacity 89 per cent of the time.

Third, renewables cannot cope with surges in demand, such as when it is very hot or cold. During January and last month, South Australia was importing electricity from Victoria 64 per cent of the time. And what is the main source of energy generation in Victoria? Brown coal.

If renewables boosters really believe South Australia can stand on its own with renewables, then perhaps they should cut off the interconnector with Victoria. Now that, to use the words of Premier Jay Weatherill, would be “a bit of an international experiment”.

However, the most bizarre aspect of the obsession with renewables is the absence of any offsetting benefits. Renewable energy subsidisation is notionally designed to reduce carbon emissions.

Yet Australia accounts for just 1.5 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions.

And according to the International Energy Agency and the Climate Council of Australia, the national RET resulted in just 0.0004 per cent less emissions a year on average from 2001 to 2014. South Australia contributes to just a fraction of that.

Energy policy should not be a contest for who can get the most favours from government. Energy generators and retailers should be focused on providing affordable and reliable energy to households and businesses. Governments should be completely technologically neutral.

South Australia is not without prospects, but it has been let down by years of government mismanagement.

This has been most apparent in the electricity market. Renewables do, and will, continue to play a role. But it is economic self-harm to force them on to market before they can deliver reliability and affordability. And on this count, coal is still king.

Daniel Wild is a research fellow with the Institute of Public Affairs.
The Australian

The real disaster is that whatever box South Australians ticked today, the choice was one between economic suicide by revolver (messy, merciful and instant) or by a thousand cuts (torture, without end).

Labor’s energy ‘plan’ (for want of a better term) would finish off any remaining vestige of productive enterprise in the State within the next 4 year term.

Miners, mineral processors, the few remaining manufacturers, irrigators running pumps and sprinklers (including dairies, vineyards, fruit and vegetable growers), seafood processors running fridges and freezers (for oysters, abalone, finfish, lobsters, etc) all use mountains of electricity; and they’re on the brink, now.

In SA, businesses watched in horror as their power prices doubled in just 12 months. Jay Weatherill is guaranteeing more of the same.

The Liberal ‘opposition’ reckons it would scrap a 75% State RET, but has absolutely no clue about how to unwind the power pricing and supply calamity that has already beset SA.

Throughout the campaign Steven ‘Holler for a’ Marshall continually prattled on about renewables and batteries, just like his opposite number.

Nick Xenophon is no supporter of wind power, but, plumping for the popular middle, played the ‘renewables are great’ line, avoiding any offence to those eco-zealots thinking about voting for him.

Xenophon was captured by the crowd pushing the solar/thermal plant planned for Port Augusta, years ago, and remains wedded to it.

At a cost of more than $1.2 billion for a paltry 150 MW, it will turn out to be a monstrous white elephant; will produce a fraction of the power promised; and, ultimately, leave its backers, like Xenophon looking like a goose.

Precisely the same costly and unreliable set up threatened for SA was built at Crescent Dunes in Nevada. That debacle commenced operation in September 2015, and ran for a mere 12 months, before a technical glitch knocked it out of action for 8 months: South Australia: Sublime One Day, Ridiculous the Next – Premier Set to Squander $1.2bn on Solar-Thermal Boondoggle

Its promoters claim that (technical glitches aside?) it will have a capacity factor of 51.9%. Which begs the question of what Mr Xenophon thinks his state will do for electricity the other 48.1% of the time? More candles, perhaps?

In short, South Australians have no real choice, but to pack up and leave. Those that remain should remember to take their daily medication and pray for the pity reserved for those that truly can’t help themselves. Or, as the English put it, keep calm and carry on.

Keeping Calm & Carrying on in South Australia.

About stopthesethings

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


  1. Terry Conn says:

    So, tonight South Australia has voted for watered down chemotherapy maybe resulting in a slower death by voting in the ‘Marshal’ but the state will die anyway as it hangs in with outstretched hands heads up mouth open begging for more gst share just to pay the burgeoning percentage of voters on the public payroll – problem being the rest of the nation is following in their footsteps – this will end badly, but for the rest of us we will be a bit behind South Australia while Turnbull and Frydenberg work out how to destroy the rest of the nation with renewables madness at the same time as pretending otherwise.

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