Liberal MPs Demand End to Australia’s Economy-Wrecking, Hidden $60bn Federal Power Tax

Already suffering the world’s highest power prices, Australian power consumers have watched prices jump by anything up to 28% in 12 months.

The greatest increases occurred, funnily enough, in the all-renewable obsessed Australia Capital Territory, home to the Australian Federal Parliament in Canberra.

The ACT entered power purchase agreements to buy wind power generated (occasionally) in South Australia and Victoria and crows about its very own large-scale solar power plant.

But for every glorious ‘look at me’, virtue signalling moment, there comes a reckoning delivered by economic reality.

While those interested in Australia’s runaway power pricing and supply calamity are heavily focused on what Josh Frydenberg has done to the proposed National Energy Guarantee (STT among them), the other entrenched source of economic punishment shouldn’t be overlooked.

Australia already has in place a system perfectly designed to destroy grid reliability and send power prices through the roof: it’s called the Federal Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target; and it’s worked a treat.

STT has been writing about it since we kicked off in December 2012.

Whatever happens with Frydenberg’s NEG, the LRET will sit there; wreaking industrial and economic havoc, unless and until someone in Canberra does something sensible.

The most likely ‘someone’ is Liberal MP, Craig Kelly.

Craig heads up the Monash Forum – a group of around 30 Liberal and National MPs. Their mission is to take control of Australia’s energy policy, inject some common sense into it and re-establish one of Australia’s key economic advantages: cheap and reliable power.

That mission starts by exposing the Federal government’s hidden power tax: it sits within the LRET and is costing all Australian power consumers over $3 billion a year – when the cost of the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme is added – that hidden power tax adds up to almost $5 billion a year. The total cost of both the LRET and SRES will top $60,000,000,000.

Here’s Craig Kelly blowing the lid on the Federal tax that the renewable energy crowd would rather keep under wraps.

‘It seems completely illogical’: Billions spent on renewable energy subsidies
Craig Kelly
15 June 2018

Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly claims more than $50 billion spent on renewable energy subsidies could’ve been invested into Australian coal-fired power stations.

There’s a push by some members of the Coalition to ditch subsidies and instead commit to coal-fired power stations.

Mr Kelly tells Ray Hadley the cost of subsidies is being passed onto the consumer in the form of higher electricity prices.

“We’ve spent over $50 billion subsidising renewables, and that’s been added onto everyone’s electricity bill.

“We could’ve actually reconstructed our entire fleet of coal-fired power stations… and had $20 billion to put into the bank.”

Mr Kelly can’t see the sense in sending coal overseas for other countries to use.

“There’s over a thousand coal-fired power stations being built around the world, it seems completely illogical that we are exporting record amounts of Australian coal… but yet there’s are feeling we can’t use it here.”



Ray Hadley: Let me just go back. You may have read the front page of The Australian, with that exclusive tag this morning. I can assure you, it’s not exclusive. Matt Howell spoke to Ross Greenwood, my colleague, earlier this week and on Wednesday, spoke to us.

Matt Howell: Last Tuesday and Thursday was a lack of dispatchable reserves capacity in the electricity market and this was indeed confirmed by the market operator, AEMO. So quite simply, our energy system in this country has become degraded. Now, when that happens, as it did on Tuesday and Thursday, wholesale prices spike to a crazy level, around $14,000 a megawatt hour. Now, that may not mean a lot to the average listener, or certainly to motorists. we could put it in terms they would understand, it would be equivalent to paying more than $400 a litre for petrol.

What was not intended is the wholesale price spiking to ridiculous levels far too often, because when we need the power most, as you say, early mornings and late evenings in the winter, the solar resources are simply not producing, I mean, have a look out your window right now, and there’s often very little wind. So when we don’t have the solar, we don’t have the wind, and the electricity system becomes distressed, somebody has to shed load.

Now, it’s true that we could stay online, but we would be losing around $5 million per hour, but even then, if there’s insufficient reserve capacity, like we saw, it’s likely the electricity grid will hit a critical level, as it did in February 2017, and the market operator will physically remove our load to avoid rolling blackouts elsewhere.

Ray Hadley: Now, apart from that, Matt Howell told me that this world’s biggest battery, in South Australia, would supply enough power to keep his plant going at Tomago for eight minutes. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. So in other words, at 22 minutes to 10, it would be gone, in eight minutes from now. Eight minutes from now, it would be gone.

Ray Hadley: Now, I noted after our discussions with Matt Howell earlier this week, the federal member for Hughes, Craig Kelly, went onto Sky News and called for him to be nominated as Australian of the Year for telling the truth for once. Craig Kelly’s on the line, the federal member for Hughes. G’day, Craig.

Craig Kelly: Yeah, G’day, Ray.

Ray Hadley: Now, you came with an email for me yesterday, about the cost of Snowy 2, the idea of the prime minister. 12.5 billion, you say that would buy six new, 1,000 per megawatt an hour new coal-fired power stations. Why aren’t we doing it?

Craig Kelly: Well, Ray, that’s a very, very good question. Not only that, already in this nation, under the renewable energy policies that we’ve had, we’ve spent over $50 billion subsidising renewables, and that’s been added onto everyone’s electricity bill. We could have actually reconstructed our entire fleet of coal-fired power stations with the latest high efficiency, low emissions technology, we could have reduced our CO2 emissions by more, and had $20 billion to put into the bank.

Ray Hadley: Just that figure you quoted then, we spent, did you say 50 billion?

Craig Kelly: $50 billion. So far, since 2010, there’s been $50 billion spent on solar panels and wind turbines and renewables. Most of these are just imported in containers from China, so the Chinese are doing very well out of our policy, and that cost eventually has to be paid by the consumer in higher electricity prices.

Ray Hadley: So your colleagues never refer to the … when they compare coal … and this is the fault of the treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, and the prime minister … they never talk about the subsidies, which I looked up yesterday, is at $2.3 billion a year now and will be $2.8 within two years.

Craig Kelly: It’s actually higher than that. There’s two schemes. There’s what’s called the large scale scheme-

Ray Hadley: Right.

Craig Kelly:  … which this year, will add $2.4 billion onto consumers’ bills. There’s also the small scale scheme, which subsidises rooftop panels. That’s another $1.2 billion. So this year, that’s $3.6 billion that gets added to everyone’s electricity bills across the nation, that we pay for, just for the subsidies. Now, that-

Ray Hadley: But, look, why the lies, Craig? Why are we always saying, and I’ve heard the treasurer say it, not on this programme anymore, but on other programmes, “Oh, look, coal’s far more expensive.” That’s despite him taking some coal into parliament and saying to the Labour party, “Don’t be scared of this.” He says it’s far more expensive. Well, of course it is if they don’t get $3.6 billion in subsidies.

Craig Kelly: That’s right. Doing it per megawatt hour, our existing fleet of coal-fired power stations is able to deliver electricity to the grid at around about 25, 30 dollars a megawatt hour, and if we go back to 2015, that was the market price. $30 a megawatt hour was the market price.

Now, today, the market price has been pushed up because of all this unreliable intermittent energy coming into the system, which has completely skewiffed it, with Hazelwood closing, the Northern Power Station closing.

That market price now is between 80 and 100 dollars, so it’s gone up three times. You’re talking about the analogy with petrol, it’d be like petrol all of a sudden going from $1.20, $1.30, to four bucks, where it costs you $280 to $300 to fill up your tank. That’s where we are today because of all these intermittent renewables coming into the system.

Ray Hadley: Look, you have a view on the science, other people have a different view on the science, but what I’d say to everyone is, let’s not argue about the science. Let’s argue about the facts that if we go down this path and we don’t have baseload power, Tomago will shut down, manufacturing industry will be wiped off the face of the Australian continent, we’ll be importing everything from China, not that we don’t do most of that anyway now, and we’ll all freeze in the winter and boil in the summer.

Craig Kelly:  Look, you’re right. Tomago is a very important asset to this country. It does almost a billion dollars in export sales. It gives a thousand jobs directly, and probably thousands more indirectly, up in that Newcastle area.

Now, if they can’t get electricity at an internationally competitive price, which is where we are heading at the moment, they’ll have no option other than to close that plant. And all that will happen, that production will actually then be made in China, we’ll lose that will to create in Australia, the things will be made in China, and they’ll probably be made under higher emission intensity power stations in China than they would in Australia. So if you’re looking at global emissions, we’d actually be doing worse for the environment if that happened.

Ray Hadley: You see, you can talk because you’re on the back bench. I had Peter Dutton, whom I have great respect for, on the programme yesterday. He’s been absolutely hammered on the internet overnight, because he toed the party line, because he’s in cabinet. It’s my belief that he argues feverishly in cabinet against renewables and for coal. He doesn’t get any traction because the prime minister’s rusted onto it.

Josh Frydenberg has been hypnotised by the prime minister. I mean, what about his comment this morning in the news that AGL should not have sold as much gas for export as it did? He gave them the licence.

Craig Kelly:  Look, Josh is a good mate of mine and we debate this vigorously between each other. But also, remember, when Tony Abbott was prime minister of the previous Liberal government, we tried to get rid of this renewable energy target but we couldn’t because we were blocked in the senate. Now, there’s only so many things we can do in government, but we’ve still got to get things through the senate to make these changes that the previous Labour government put in.

Ray Hadley: Yeah, Craig, look, I’ve got to pull you up there. While ever this bloke’s in charge, Malcolm Turnbull, it won’t even get to the senate, mate. He’s rusted on renewables. He’s further to the left than some of the lunatics that are on the left. I mean, so he won’t even countenance a discussion about … I mean, he spent $12.5 billion … and by the way, the other news in relation to Snowy mark 2, it’ll need baseload power before it even starts generating any renewable energy, and you say to me yesterday you could build six new coal-fired power stations, new technology. Now, there’s his chance and he said no to it.

Craig Kelly: Look, Ray, as you also mentioned, there’s over a thousand coal-fired power stations being built around the world. It seems completely illogical that we are exporting record amounts of Australian coal, high quality Australian black coal, which is in high demand all around the world, to these new coal-fired power stations being built, but yet there’s a feeling, “Oh, we can’t use it here.”

Even places in the Middle East, in Dubai, they’re building these new coal-fired power stations. I think there’s about 35 or 40 countries around the world, that today, have new coal-fired power stations under construction, and they’re only doing that because they’ve looked at all the options.

They’ve looked at the options of renewables or wind and they say to get the cheapest baseload power to our people, we need coal-fired power stations. They’re paying a premium to ship that coal all the way from Australia to their ports, and then shipping it onto the coal-fired power station, as well, we’ve got the coal in our backyard.

Ray Hadley: Okay, one final thing. Why is the left trying to empty you out of the parliament?

Craig Kelly: Look, Ray, look, every member of parliament, we have to submit ourselves before the party, and most important, before the people of our electorate. So the first step is to gain re-indorsement from the party. The second step is also to put ourselves before the electorate. That’s part of our democratic process. Everyone has to go through it and I’m more than proud to run on my record.

Ray Hadley: All right. Well, let’s hope that the people who make that decision, the pre-selectors, know who the best man is for the job. I appreciate your time, Craig, thank you.

Craig Kelly: Thank you, Ray.

Ray Hadley: Craig Kelly, federal member for Hughes. A lone voice, publicly, in the wilderness. I know plenty of his colleagues speak in muttered tones in parliament about this, or in the cabinet room. They’re not prepared to go publicly like he will, Craig Kelly, but if you want to win the election, Malcolm, start talking to the people. Those people whose power bills are increasing, both in business, and those in residence. You’re sending the joint broke, mate.

Craig Kelly: what stands between Australia and economic ruin.

About stopthesethings

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


  1. Jackie Rovensky says:

    Mr Turnbull has to go or be brought into line. He is meant to represent the Liberal Party who were voted into power by the people – HE IS NOT there to further his personal desires or only represent those who tug at his coat tails.
    Australia cannot survive this man in power – nor could it survive Labor being back in power – but unless Turnbull is brought into line that will happen. Those like Frydenberg who hang on his every word also need to be brought into line because their support just gives him the idea he cannot be stopped.
    The party over threw one Leader THEY thought wasn’t doing the right thing – its time they took the bull by the horns and did it again BEFORE the next election – lets get someone in there who represents the people of this Nation and is willing to stand up to the renewable industry AND strip away the ‘incentives’ for the renewable industry – they are now all grown up and should not need OUR financial support. And the ridiculous ‘Target’ set at the Paris meeting be cancelled. A policy that was signed off on that was not fully investigated and designed for its ability NOT to destroy Nations futures, is not one that can be kept to.
    Wake up Federal Liberals and take a good look at yourselves and accept something has to be done. Getting Turnbull to pull the line, resign or be knocked off the perch is your only chance of remaining in Government and this nation cannot continue with Turnbull’s personal crusade or Labors threat of wholesale handover of Australia to foreign powers.
    Currently looking at the Federal Liberal Government it appears to be a Government of a few Ministers and everyone else is shutout. Turnbull should not be allowed to Dictate to the Liberal MP’s or the people of this Nation we are still a Democracy – I think.

  2. Absolute craziness in our Parliament! I don’t get it! Coal supplies around 75% of our power, week in, week out, every day of the year! And gas adds another 9% or so to that. Hydro adds another 10%. So that is 94% of our power covered. So we spend billions to cover the remainder? How stupid are we? Intermittent renewables can NEVER replace reliable power plants!
    Here again is the link to TonyFromOz’s excellent work on Australia’s power production! His expose on this is well worth reading! This link covers Sundays power production, as well as the average for the last 6 weeks!

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