Sunset on Chaotic Renewables: Monash Forum Pushes Australia’s Reliable & Affordable Coal-Fired Future

Watch out Malcolm, Tony’s right behind you.

 

Australia isn’t powered by sunshine and breezes, it’s powered by coal. No amount of wishing, hoping or cursing is about to change that fact. Major retailers and generators are lining up to purchase coal-fired power plants, for that very reason.

It’s quite simple really: power consumers (be they businesses or householders) want power as and when they need it, not when the sun’s up and the wind is blowing just right. And they don’t want to declare bankruptcy when they receive their power bills.

The usual retort at this point is that ‘batteries will fix it’. No, they won’t.

Renewables powerhouses like Germany and Denmark haven’t bothered to squander money on mega-batteries. Instead, to accommodate the vagaries of the weather, the Germans have built new, and re-commissioned old, coal-fired power plant, and import huge volumes of nuclear power from France. Likewise, the Danes import hydro from Norway, nuclear power from Sweden and coal-fired power from the Germans, when wind power output collapses.

If the tech savvy Germans and Danes haven’t bothered with batteries, it’s a pretty fair sign they’re either technically unfeasible at grid-scale, or economically unviable, or both.

In any case, it’s just another method of squandering other people’s money. South Australia’s $150 million, 100 MW Elon Musk special, is of such marginal benefit that its full cost to SA taxpayers will never be recouped. And, when wind power output collapses in SA, as it does every day, the bulk of the power needed to fill those pesky ‘gaps’ (up to 800 MW) is drawn via interconnectors from coal-fired power plants, situated in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.

Now that the Monash Forum (a group of 30 Federal Liberal and National MPs) is dictating terms on energy policy, the politics of power has taken a turn away from ideology and back to common sense.

Here’s The Australian’s Terry McRann detailing the first sensible shift in energy politics in over 20 years.

Malcolm Turnbull would do well to embrace Tony Abbott’s policy
The Australian
Terry McCrann
7 April 2018

The idea that drives the latest core conservative revolt — a new coal-fired power station, run by the government if needed — is inspired and works at every point. It works on policy, politics and consumer grounds.

The conservatives have become coal power realists. They have rediscovered the path to national sanity, survival and indeed success.

There are two absolutely critical points about the “New Abbott Agenda” that have completely escaped the Canberra Press Gallery and its capital city think-alikes, consumed as they are by a cocktail of “hate-Abbott” and their presumed sophisticated political realism.

The first is that government-backbencher Tony Abbott has constructed an extremely powerful policy package, which could actually work to both wedge Bill Shorten’s Labor opposition and give the government a clear political dynamic and advantage.

It is a package which is a near — what else? — carbon copy of the one that was developed and executed (and boy, was it an execution, of two successive Labor PMs) by then-opposition leader Abbott.

A political policy dynamic, running down to the 2013 federal election, incidentally, which actually prefigured the style and substance used so successfully by Donald Trump three years later.

Candidate Abbott had three powerful memes, simply and repeatedly expressed. Axe the tax. Stop the boats. Fix the budget.

Backbencher Abbott has proffered two replays. Cut power prices and end the population Ponzi. Next month his former political partner, Treasurer Scott Morrison, is going to tell us that the budget is in the process of fixing itself. Time will tell whether that is true, but time will only tell after the next election.

So in effect, Abbott is offering the same triage of political policy promises that worked so effectively in 2013. Further and importantly, whereas the 2013 triage was constructed to work for and was executed by an opposition, the 2018 triage works effectively for an incumbent government.

The government could start on cutting back immigration excess and recommitting to coal now — making continued cheaper power prices and less population congestion dependent on its re-election.

The second big point, which has not been grasped — self-evidently, in the absence of the core point not being understood — is that Abbott does not have copyright over this policy triage.

A PM facing Monday’s “Abbott Memorial Newspoll”, could (silently) say: thank you very much Tony, do you mind if I run with all that?

Of course, just to state this is to announce its impossibility. There is no way that Malcolm Turnbull is going to emulate either the tactics or the substance of what delivered Abbott — and the Liberal and National Coalition — success in 2013.

He has some pride; he has to draw the line somewhere at copying Abbott; and a better place than any is only copying the 30 negative Newspolls and certainly none of Abbott’s politics, policies or style.

Further, even on the 30, Turnbull clearly has no intention of stopping at Abbott’s number; he’s intent on building a record of Bradman-like longevity.

My key point remains: an intelligent PM could embrace Abbott’s policies without necessarily also re-embracing Abbott. But as I’ve previously argued it would be even smarter to also embrace Abbott — not simply to have him micturating out rather than “in”, but to use him to also bring Pauline Hanson, or rather her voters, into that tent.

On the macro poll numbers, the government is headed for a thumping 25-30 seat loss. But even if it gets back to two-party parity with Labor, or indeed even into the majority, it cannot and will not win the election unless it gets Hanson’s preferences in Queensland. She has in her gift up to a dozen seats.

Aside from anything else, the Greens’ embrace of utter and Venezuela-dangerous lunacy this week makes it not only easy but mandatory for all mainstream parties to put them last, behind Hanson. The Coalition should just make Abbott’s freelancing on the subject official.

Ideally, a PM who was able to combine realism, sanity and political noise would announce Australia’s withdrawal from the Fake Paris Climate Accord, following the sensible lead of President Trump.

The “Climate Emperor” has no clothes. Shocking as stating that is, oh for a down under Churchill to do so some day.

That is clearly not going to happen. What is feasible is a commitment to a new coal-fired power station. Or two or three. And they would be within both the spirit of the Paris Accord and our actual Paris emissions commitments.

After all, plenty of signed-up Climate Apocalypse true believers have and are building new coal-fired stations — such as Germany, Japan and of course China and India, to say nothing of the dozens of others.

The reason the government has to build is as depressing as it is simple: no private capital will commit to a four-to-five-year build and a 40-50-year lifespan, given the guarantee of anti-coal policy stupidity which would render it utterly uneconomic. It makes a lot more sense, incidentally, to build a coal power station than a desalination plant.

It is an utter nonsense to say that would be interfering in the market. The government is already doing that by mandating (useless) wind and solar and spending at least $4 billion (the cost of a new coal station) every year to subsidise them.

To say nothing of the “big battery”: Snowy 2.0.

Morrison’s claim to the cost of new coal power being too high is an embarrassingly barefaced lie, built on not costing into the comparison the offsetting subsidies to wind and solar.

The government must also move to compulsorily acquire Liddell — as it can, paying “just terms”, which as AGL says it is worthless must be pretty close to zero — and then flip it to Alinta.

As it is “old power” even Morrison would have to concede it could deliver low-priced coal-fired power out to 2030; by which time climate sanity (and cold winters) might hopefully be starting to prevail.
The Australian

Monash Forum’s high-efficiency vote gathering machine.

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Another ploy from the Libs. Appear Trump-like for the next election. Put up a candidate who can entice hope for conservative policies. Then immediately after the election, pull a Turnbull and resort back to Left wing politics. And the Australian voter is going to fall for it again. Yeah, right!

  2. Well it took a while but we are practically there with the smokescreen removed

    It will be Fossil Fuels or it will be nuclear power as the baseload core to electricity generation, with in both cases intermittent sources providing additional capacity

    Since Climate Change is indeed being fuelled by CO2 emissions it has to be nuclear

    QED

    So start building the reactors and linking them in to the existing grid – The rest is nonsense.

    The Fossil Fuel industry fought hard with its de-facto Green allies but it is all over bar the screaming of abuse…

    • Phil Clarke
      “Since Climate Change is indeed being fuelled by CO2 emissions” Where is your proof of that. I’ll let you in on a secret — there is no proof!

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