Eco-Irony: Power-Starved Australian Households Switch to Scavenged Firewood to Beat Winter’s Chill

Let eco-zealots get control of your country’s power generation system, and rocketing power prices follow as night follows day.

Those countries whose energy policies have been hijacked by renewable energy rent seekers – pumping heavily subsidised, utterly unreliable and completely chaotic wind and solar – have watched their power prices double in a veritable heartbeat. The circus really only got started around 2000 (as an incident of countries signing up to the economic suicide pact aka the Kyoto protocol), but, like a runaway train, the destruction wrought continues to gather momentum.

Part of the problem has been that mainstream journos took their eye off the ball. Sure, there were plenty of hacks who drank the Kool-Aid early – ritually polishing up and regurgitating the propaganda faithfully delivered to them by wind and solar power outfits and/or their lobbyists on a daily basis – a few diehards still do – but, as with most ideological disasters, it’s the many who remained silent who have done the most damage.

Now that the inevitable jump in power prices is starting to affect not just the poorest and most vulnerable, but people whose station suggests they shouldn’t need to struggle, columnists are starting to take notice. And about time, too.

What’s staggering about this piece that appeared in The Australian last week is not the fact that householders are reduced to busting up packing crates and burning them to keep warm (because they can no longer afford to use electricity) it’s that this stuff isn’t screaming out from the front pages of every major newspaper.

Just what is so wrong about affordable energy?
The Australian
Jennifer Oriel
7 May 2018

The Coalition is preparing to win back the forgotten people by ­delivering a battlers’ budget this week. The centrepiece is tax relief for the working poor to counteract wage stagnation and soaring living costs. But the government has a problem with elitism and it is more than bad optics or the politics of envy. If you want to spot the elitists in modern government, forget about arch capitalists. Look left ­­— green left.

For a sign of the times, consider a middle-aged woman chopping discarded palettes for firewood. I came across the scene last week when searching the neighbourhood for the source of air pollution so severe you couldn’t breathe without coughing. The outer burbs provide a fair indication of the health of the economy. When shops start to close and people look downcast, you know the cupboards are bare. But I’ve never seen such a Dickensian sight as neighbours coughing on air thick with rancid wood smoke because electricity is too expensive.

A day after I spoke with the sinful neighbourhood emitter, Guardian Australia reported a virtuous circle forming between the Liberal left and GetUp! From the lofty perch of Sydney’s affluent suburbs, former Liberal powerbroker Michael Photios donned his green-left halo to speak at an event for the North Shore Environmental Stewards. The NSES markets itself as a green group in contrast to the Monash Forum.

The Liberal left is angry at Tony Abbott for spearheading the forum that snubs green energy barons to back affordable electricity for battlers. With the highest energy prices in the world and low wage growth, we cannot ­afford to ignore its message. But that’s exactly what the green left wants us to do.

According to a Guardian source in attendance at the NSES event, it is trying to recruit people to join the Liberal Party to “block the preselection of Tony Abbott to stand in Warringah at the next federal election”.

There were reportedly several high-­profile Liberals at the event, including Photios, his environ­mentalist wife Kristina and the NSW MP for North Shore, Felicity Wilson. GetUp! supports the NSES and several members have joined the group.

The contrast between the ­Monash Forum and NSES is significant because it illustrates that the battle over green politics ­revolves around two competing industries. The Monash Forum was formed by democratically elected MPs who want to sustain coal-fired power for Australians until a more efficient and affordable alternative is created. NSES associates include activists, lobbyists and Liberal members invested in the green energy market.

Like many Australians, I support the idea of clean green ­energy but cannot justify our ­society’s most vulnerable members suffering this winter because families can’t afford electricity. Cost-of-living pressures are far too high in Australia to sacrifice more of the household budget to green ­energy barons.

The moral dilemma for people who support the idea of renew­ables is that the technology to make energy green, reliable and affordable does not yet exist. We are paying for a big green experiment with devastating results for Australians with no money to spare. In the cold light of realism, climate change champions are ­beginning to look like used-car salesmen hawking a well-greased illusion. Buyer beware.

The Daily Caller website ­reported that the best known climate change philanthropist, George Soros, invested almost $160 million in 11 new fossil fuel companies in the last quarter of 2017. If coal is the enemy and being phased out by progressives, why is Soros sinking millions into new fossil fuel enterprises?

As reported in these pages, GetUp! claimed to champion green energy by helping 20,000 members switch their power provider to Powershop. The group was paid more than $2 million for the referral service. In promotions for Powershop, GetUp! said it was “backed by a 100 per cent renewable energy company”. The activist group said the company was “ranked the greenest energy ­retailer” and “Australia’s only carbon-neutral provider”. But as Brad Norington revealed, Powershop’s parent company, Meridian Energy, buys electricity in the same way as the energy retailers GetUp! denounced as the “dirty three” for sourcing coal-fired power.

A GetUp! spokesman said the group had been “transparent” about the source of Powershop’s electricity.

Environmentalism is more than politics. Green energy is a big business in competition with coal. Investors can play both sides as the free market allows, but government subsidies often give green idealists an advantage over energy realists.

The apparent elitism of the Liberal left on environmentalism ­issues to the Liberal base remains a problem for the government. Its members moved against Abbott and Jim Molan’s proposal to democratise the Liberal Party by reforming preselection processes. Conservatives said Photios was behind the push to block plebiscites to maintain his control over the Liberal Party. Leading Liberal left MPs also argued against the democratic people’s vote on same-sex marriage.

Along with other Liberal left powerbrokers, Photios was asked to resign from the NSW state executive after Abbott criticised the undue influence of lobbyists. In an interview with the ABC’s Four Corners, Abbott said: “A lobbyist is someone who makes money out of getting people in front of politicians. A power­broker is someone who controls or influences the preselections of those politicians.” The acrimony between Abbott and Photios is well known.

Photios and his wife lobby for the green industry through their ­advisory firm Clean Energy Strategies. Speaking to Guardian Australia, Photios denied that the Liberal Party was involved in forming the NSES.

There are more tremors in the Liberals’ broad church. The energy debate has revealed the left invested in green ­industry without due regard for the burden it imposes on struggling Australians. The budget presents an opportunity for Liberal moderates and conservatives to remember the forgotten people. Lest they forget.
The Australian

Oh, the irony. The so-called ‘inevitable transition’ to wind and solar looks more like a transition back to the Dark Ages.

A few years back, STT reported on power-starved Germans who have forced into their forests to scrounge timber for cooking and heating purposes: Wind Power Costs send Germans back to the Stone Age

Germany is, of course, another country suffering from rocketing power prices, due to an obsession with intermittent and heavily subsidised wind and solar; hundreds of thousands of Germans have been disconnected from the grid: ‘Transition’ to Wind & Solar Sends German Power Prices Into Orbit: 328,000 Families Chopped from Grid

STT hears that, with the Federal budget out of the way, that the Monash Forum (headed up by Liberal MP, Craig Kelly) are going to start rattling the cages of PM, Malcolm Turnbull and his gormless Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg over their willingness to maintain the status quo.

Notwithstanding the punishment being dished out to Australian families and businesses and the obvious cause of that perfectly avoidable malevolence, Turnbull and Frydenberg are so crippled with inertia, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there was some kind of financial reward attached to their zealous protection of the interests of wind and solar power outfits?

The 30 or so MPs in the Monash Forum are coming from the opposite end of the spectrum: the one occupied by common sense, human decency and compassion. For there to be more power to Australian families and businesses, there needs to be a whole lot more power to the Monash Forum.

More power to Craig Kelly & his Monash Forum, means
more power to Australian families & businesses.

About stopthesethings

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


  1. Ferruccio Ferroni, Switzerland says:

    I have a question: you are indicating a retail electricity price of 47.13 c/kWh for South Australia. According to the price referenced is 34.5. Could you explain the reasons for the difference? Thanks

    • Solarquotes are wrong. The retail price in SA was 35c/kwh a decade ago. The figure of 47c/kwh is correct; it is current, and it includes all taxes paid by retail customers eg GST. SA power prices will continue to increase, for the reasons laid out on this site, every day.

      • Ferruccio Ferroni, Switzerland says:

        Thank you. Your figure correspond roughly to the actual electricity retail price in Germany. About 3 times the US average price !!!

  2. Terry Conn says:

    Turnbull and Frydenberg need more than their cages rattled – they need to go to the top of Peter Mitchell’s accountability list – they are the government and they continue to support wind farms by every means they can, and at the same time claim a ‘technology neutral’ which is a bald faced lie .

  3. This could be very timely! TonyFromOz, over at PAPundits, has just released a new series, detailing the total power from all power sources in Australia. This could prove to a very valuable resource! I’ll post the permanent link for the series, of which today’s post is numero uno! Have a read! Its very telling and worthwhile!

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