Frydenberg Foiled: Nationals Kill-Off Energy Minister’s National Energy Guarantee

Barnaby Joyce: a National out to deliver cheap and reliable power to all.

 

Panic-stricken Liberal and National MPs have killed-off the proposed National Energy Guarantee at birth.

Federal Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg presented a version of the NEG which simply expands the Federal government’s Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target and pushes its operation over the horizon.

The model being touted was written by eco-zealots at the direction of renewable energy rent-seekers, desperate to avoid any stricture on their never-ending subsidies and mode of operation.

In their Coalition party-room meeting, Frydenberg and PM, Malcolm Turnbull sought to shut down debate over the NEG, bullying backbenchers and berating critics, alike.

The minor Coalition party, the Nationals weren’t having any of it.

A number of Nationals are members of the Monash Forum, a group dedicated to restoring reliable and affordable power, to all Australians.

The Nationals have smelt a rat – and with good reason: the NEG is just the RET overdosed with steroids.

And the NEG does not replace the Federal Government’s LRET: a hidden $60 billion tax on all Australian power consumers, which runs until 2031.

The realization has struck – with a sudden and terrifying clarity – that Australia has squandered billions of dollars building wind and solar capacity, which, when the sun sets and calm weather sets in, is as pointless as the third wheel on a bicycle.

Now the race is on to win redress for Australian households, industry and businesses.

$5bn fund at top of Nationals’ demands for Turnbull on energy
The Australian
Joe Kelly & Simon Benson
28 June 2018

The Nationals have drawn up a set of demands for Malcolm Turnbull, headlined by the creation of a fund of up to $5 billion that would deliver government money for new baseload generators, including coal-fired power.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack was charged with raising a set of “discussion points” directly with the Prime Minister, after the Nationals spent 90 minutes discussing energy policy in their partyroom meeting on Monday.

A Nationals MP told The Australian it was a “test case” for the junior Coalition partner’s new leader, with the proposals meant to have been raised before the joint partyroom meeting on Tuesday morning.

Nationals MPs are increasingly concerned the government’s national energy guarantee will not do enough to reduce prices for households and businesses. They also fear that Mr Turnbull’s signature energy policy will fail to drive investment into new baseload power generation.

It was unclear last night if Mr McCormack had already met Mr Turnbull and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg to discuss the two-page document approved by the Nationals partyroom.

As revealed by The Australian, Mr Frydenberg has already signalled to the Coalition backbench that he is prepared to provide an “add-on” to the energy guarantee that would ­include more coal and gas.

Labor has indicated that it could vote against the national energy guarantee if Mr Turnbull agrees to a new mechanism that would subsidise coal-fired power generation to head off an insurgency from a core group of Coalition backbenchers.

Opposition energy spokesman Mark Butler said Labor was not “going to agree to a model that seeks to fly in the face of all of the expert advice”. He warned that building new coal-fired power stations would prevent Australia from meeting its target under the Paris Agreement of reducing emissions by 26 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030. Mr Butler also said Mr Turnbull was wrong for telling parliament that coal-fired power could be part of Australia’s energy system “forever” — a statement he described as an “extraordinary proposition given all of the advice globally”.

Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce have both threatened to cross the floor on the energy guarantee because of concerns it will not provide enough price relief for households or lead to more coal being brought into the mix. The former prime minister said yesterday he was unconvinced by business and industry leaders who this week urged Coalition backbenchers to support the policy or risk taking a wrecking ball to the economy.

“So many of these businesses and business groups last time they came to town were urging us to back Labor’s emissions trading scheme,” Mr Abbott told Ben Fordham’s 2GB radio program. “So I’m a little sceptical about businesses, particularly businesses that have got a vested interest in gaming the system.”

Mr Abbott said he remained sceptical about Mr Frydenberg’s claim that coal would be part of the energy mix under the NEG. “I have a lot of respect for Josh, but when he says that the government is technology neutral, he’s wrong,” he said.

Bill Shorten sought to press Mr Turnbull in question time on his commitment to coal, noting that Snowy Hydro boss Paul Broad had warned a new coal-fired power station would undermine the business case for the pumped hydro project. Mr Turnbull hit back by saying the energy guarantee was technology agnostic and coal would continue to be a “big part” of the energy mix “for a very long time”.

The Australian understands the document approved by the Nationals with their demands has been given to every member of the minor Coalition party.

Additional reporting: Rachel Baxendale
The Australian

The Nationals’ demand for immediate construction of coal-fired power plants guarantees doom for the NEG as put forward by Frydenberg.

The policy has to run the gauntlet of Labor governments in Queensland, Victoria and WA (all besotted with nature’s wonder fuels). And the climate cult – headed up by Mark Butler – that is the Federal ALP will die in a ditch before they support a policy that is capable of delivering reliable and affordable power.

Delivering power as and when all power consumers need it is just one of the critical issues that the NEG nimbly avoids: the reliability obligation, as originally envisaged, has been gutted.

The other issue jumped on by the Nationals is price. Power prices in those states heavily invested in wind and solar (NSW, VIC & SA) have seen costs to businesses jump between 20 and 24% in 12 months.

The ACT with its 90% RET is reaping the whirlwind, with its businesses whacked with a 28% jump in their power costs over the last year.

With the NEG heavily focused on more wind and solar, it’s little wonder that the Nationals are sceptical of Frydenberg’s panicky promises of lower power prices to come.

Nationals demand proof NEG will lower power bills
The Australian
Joe Kelly
29 June 2018

Nationals MPs are publicly demanding “proof” the government’s national energy guarantee will drive down prices and have confirmed there was a partyroom push to create a new fund of up to $5 billion to underwrite base-load generators, including coal-fired power.

Labor seized on unrest within Nationals ranks yesterday to heap pressure on Malcolm Turnbull, asking the Prime Minister in question time whether he would use taxpayer money to fund new or existing coal-fired generators.

Opposition energy spokesman Mark Butler has signalled Labor could oppose the NEG if the policy facilitates subsidies for coal, with Mr Turnbull refusing to say whether government assistance is on the table. “The government’s policy is technology-agnostic and facilitates investment in all forms of generation,” he said. “Our focus is on reducing energy prices. That is what our policy is directed at.”

Victorian Nationals MP Damian Drum yesterday told Sky News his colleagues had pushed for a government fund of up to $5bn to help underwrite the delivery of reliable energy including coal-fired power generation.

“There are some in the party that do want it,” Mr Drum said.

The Australian revealed yesterday that Nationals leader Michael McCormack had been charged with raising a set of “discussion points” directly with Mr Turnbull, headlined by the fund of up to $5bn.

However, Nationals MPs were still uncertain yesterday of the outcome of any meetings between the two leaders.

While Mr Drum said the Nationals were “fully supportive” of the guarantee, he also argued the minor Coalition party was “asking for further proof” on the policy that is being championed by Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg.

“The Nats want to see unequivocal evidence,” he said.

Mr Drum said his colleagues were focused on ensuring any new policy brought down power prices, but appeared uncertain about whether the guarantee would achieve that objective and described it as a “complex beast”.

Asked if he was certain prices would come down under the ­policy, Mr Drum replied: “No, I’m not sure but I’m of that belief.”

Mr McCormack said his party supported the NEG but emphasised the need to drive down power prices as a key objective.

“We continue to work on an energy plan which can deliver reliable energy supply while lowering costs and reducing emissions to meet set targets,” he said.

Former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce said the key issue on which the government should focus was power price reductions for households and businesses. “I don’t really care what AEMO (Australian Energy Market Operator) says. I don’t really care what any minister says. I’ve listened to all these models and theorists and theories before,” Mr Joyce told The Australian.

“There is only one person I’m going to listen to and that is the person at 123 Smith Street who receives a white envelope with a little transparent window in the front of it — and it’s called the power bill.”

AEMO was forced to intervene in the market yesterday afternoon to ensure security of the South Australian grid was maintained.

An AEMO spokeswoman would not disclose the specific reason for the notices, citing confidentiality clauses with commercial operators, but said the action would be in effect until 5pm today.

Additional reporting: Luke Griffiths
The Australian

 

Ho-hum. Another day. Another near collapse of South Australia’s power grid. The last week has seen an outbreak of calm weather, as a large high-pressure system stationed itself stubbornly over the south-east corner of the continent.

Predictably enough, wind power output was utterly pathetic. See above – the output from every wind turbine connected to the Eastern Grid (notional capacity of 4,980 MW) during June courtesy of Aneroid Energy.

Depicted below is the effort of SA’s fleet of whirling wonders, with a notional capacity of 1,810 MW on 27 June. The effort is actually worse than pathetic: for six hours during the middle of the day SA’s 20 wind farms were actually sucking power from the grid, depriving electricity to everything else connected to it (including Elon Musk’s mega-battery) at a time when demand was fast outstripping supply – and putting the stability of the grid in mortal peril.

And we’re told that SA is a wind power world-beater!

Here’s what happened on 28 June in SA:

Risible probably covers it. However, it’s no laughing matter for grid managers watching demand rocket throughout the day – as businesses fire up air-conditioners, plant and equipment, etc and householders trundle out of bed, cranking up heaters, flicking on lights and switching on kettles and toasters.

The ‘AEMO spokeswoman’ decided to keep a lid on the reason for issuing notices warning generators of a looming and critical supply shortfall – ‘citing confidentiality clauses with commercial operators’.

The image above is hardly confidential.

Starting the day with a piddling 100 MW (or 5.5% of total capacity) contribution to SA’s power needs, its team began a leisurely climb – reaching 550 MW (or 30% of total capacity) – before suddenly collapsing to 300 MW.

Pulling 250 MW out of the grid without warning is more than enough to collapse it. And that’s the reason the AEMO hit the panic button last Thursday.

Indeed, as seen in the output across the entire Eastern Grid above, on plenty of occasions grid managers have to deal with collapses in the order of 1,000 to 3,500 MW, occurring in the space of less than an hour and, sometimes, a mere few minutes.

NSW was within seconds of losing its entire grid a few weeks ago, for just that reason.

STT hears that the NSW government is pretending that the incident never happened; while those in charge continue to delude themselves that the whole thing will soon blow over, so to speak.

Except that it won’t: Australia’s obsession with the unreliables means the big states of NSW and Victoria will very soon start to experience what South Australians now treat as the new normal.

Welcome to your wind powered future!

The NEG’s ‘demand resources’ – get ready for more action in SA.

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Just build a new state of the art coal or nuclear. I for one would change my 5 meters over to the company that did this.

  2. Jackie Rovensky says:

    Its good to know the Nationals are pushing against Turnbull and Co who have sunk this Nation even further into the mire of the Renewable industries dung heap.
    Hopefully the all Liberal backbenchers and many of the Front bench, will also fall in with the Nationals and force the hand of Turnbull and Co to listen to the people – those who count – and financially support construction and refitting of coal plants.
    We sell it overseas why shouldn’t we use it here. Countries around the world are building coal plants to stave of the ever increasing cost of ‘Renewable’ energy, which affects EVERY section of modern social and economic life of their nations.
    If Turnbull and his inner circle want to continue down the path they have been on then they should resign their positions and allow others with a clear understanding of reality take over.
    For any member of Parliament to even consider the push of Renewables has been good for this country they have to be living in cuckoo land.
    Not only have they set aside the health and welfare of those living with these turbines they have continued to ignore the increasing in turbine sizes without any changes to planning and environmental requirements and they have set aside the COMPLETELY OBVIOUS FACT these things CANNOT provide a reliable source of energy at a price that is affordable to all.
    For to long the industry and its deluded supporters have said wind turbines do not need base-load backup or indeed any backup.
    Of course THEY would say that wouldn’t they and they are right they don’t need it they are doing very nicely financially without it.
    BUT WE DO, we and all industry need it to ensure we have sufficient energy for everyone when it is needed without having to sacrifice our life savings to pay for it.
    The Renewable industry has now decided it needs to show some appearance of acceptance of having to be able to ‘store’ energy for when it is needed, even if they don’t really think its necessary for their financial ‘bottom line’. They have begun to waffle about batteries and other forms of ‘storage’ knowing full well its only a smoke screen to look as if they are doing something worthwhile – the cost doesn’t worry them and here in SA the Musk Big Battery is not even being paid by for by the industry but by the people of SA.

  3. Son of a goat says:

    First it was South Australia’s then energy minister Koutsy destroying its once cheap and reliable coal fired generation.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/TurboTomMP/status/991962394820722688/photo/1

    Now we have the Lovely Audrey and AEMO cover up.
    Happy days!

  4. Terry Conn says:

    Good to see AEMO is now opening up that it spends a lot of its time ‘covering up’ – they just call it ‘non disclosure’ and when the cover up can no longer be hidden when Audrey’s goal of shutting down baseload generators is completed, what then? – non disclosure of course – somehow I think the old wild west tradition of ‘lynch mobs’ is not far away from a major comeback.

  5. Great to see the Nationals stand up and push back against Turnbull and Frydenberg’s folly.

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