Descent Into Chaos: Australia’s Renewable Energy Policies Implode As Power Prices Rocket Out of Control

Blind panic doesn’t cover it: Australia’s energy crisis has MPs and rent-seekers running around like chooks with their heads cut off.

Retail power prices (see above) have jumped anywhere between 20 and 28% in the last 12 months, in those states with major wind and solar capacity – adding to 13-20% increases, the previous year.

Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg – who can’t come to grips with the hard numbers above and keeps on telling porkies on that score – has slammed into a brick wall, as he tries to sell his version of the National Energy Guarantee. The Green/Labor Alliance and its PR wing, GetUp! are determined to wreck it. While plenty of Liberal and National MPs have worked out that it is simply the RET on steroids, will cross the floor to vote against it. Then there’s the Senate…

Try as he might, Frydenberg’s NEG is a dead duck.

We’re willing to sink energy deal, Hanson and Leyonhjelm warn PM
The Australian
Ben Packham
27 July 2018

Key Senate crossbenchers Pauline Hanson and David Leyon­hjelm have warned Malcolm Turnbull they could sink his ­national energy guarantee if he is forced to rely on independent support to secure his signature ­energy reform.

The One Nation Leader said yesterday she was “strongly against” the NEG, and wanted to pull out of the Paris climate deal that required Australia to cut 2005-level emissions by 26 per cent.

“Why should we comply with the UN Paris agreement when major Paris signatories refuse to comply and we sell them our coal?” Senator Hanson told The Australian from a cruise ship off Ireland. “What we need is cheap, reliable electricity and to harness our natural supply of high-quality coal in new low-emissions, coal-fired power stations.”

Senator Hanson, who controls two Senate votes, said government policies favouring renewable energy had made it almost impossible to secure financing for new coal-fired power stations, which she said would deliver cheaper power.

Senator Leyonhjelm, the Liberal Democrat, said he wanted to see evidence the NEG would dramatically lower power prices before he would back the deal.

“They need to fall by at least 50 per cent to restore competitiveness and take pressure off households,” he said.

“I’ll be looking for additional initiatives that achieve such a cut.”

Senator Leyonhjelm, who has also called for Australia to renege on its Paris commitment, said cutting assistance for rooftop solar, as recommended by the competition watchdog, would be “a good start”.

With federal Labor signalling it was likely to oppose what it said was a “pathetic” 26 per cent carbon emissions cut under the NEG, the government may be forced to rely on the votes of eight of 10 Senate crossbenchers to get the policy through parliament.

The Centre Alliance’s Rex Patrick said he and Senate colleague Stirling Griff backed the NEG’s goals but their vote would depend on how much the policy brought down power bills.

“We would expect on the pricing side for there to be a clear indication of what the savings will be, and that the modelling that generates those savings is released publicly, including all assumptions that were made,” Senator Patrick said.

Senator Griff said the Centre Alliance also wanted a full cost-­benefit analysis on the policy to ensure the cost of implementing it did not outweigh its advantages.

Bill Shorten yesterday said Labor was yet to reach a final decision on the NEG, while blasting the “over-hyped” policy and declaring it would not lower household bills.

“Mr Turnbull hasn’t got a plan to look after ordinary working people’s energy bills. He just has pretend schemes about whole lots of new coal-fired power stations being built on every corner,” the Opposition Leader said.

The NEG had united backing from the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Industry Group and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“Continuing to play politics is not an option,” said BCA president Grant King. Ai Group CEO Innes Willox said it was essential to “give industry the predictability and the framework it needs” to make long-term investment decisions.
The Australian

For years, we’ve been told that wind and solar beat coal-fired power, hands down, on every score: free, and getting cheaper all the time; clean, and oh so green, and welcomed by rural communities like the goose that laid the golden egg.

Except, the very moment when it looks like those generating power using nature’s wonder fuels will actually get to ‘compete’ with conventional generators – in the absence of mandates, targets and massive subsidies – they start ranting about the need for “policy certainty” and how, without it, we’ll all miss out on billions of dollars of ‘investment’ and thousands of groovy Green jobs, on our ‘inevitable transition’ to an all RE future.

When the cage gets rattled, it’s pretty easy to spot those with skin in the game.

The Ai Group’s Innes Willox has spent years promoting subsidised wind power, with the kind of zealotry one naturally expects from crony capitalists, in on the deal.

A former journalist and PR master, Willox has plenty of skin in the game – as a director of union super funds, including Australian Super which is headed up by former Labor/Union heavyweights.

Union super funds have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into wind power outfits, such as Pacific Hydro and Infigen. For years now, Willox has dominated the commentary and opinion pages of Australia’s mainstream press, pushing the ‘wonders’ of renewables; and deflecting and preventing any criticism of Australia’s Federal Renewable Energy Target. Now he wants Frydenberg’s NEG set in stone.

As Upton Sinclair put it: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”

Although, in fairness to Willox, we expect he fully understands the benefits of being on the right side of the largest single government mandated wealth transfer in the history of the Australian Commonwealth. No wonder he’s jumpy about where Australia’s energy policy is headed.

NEG a bridge too far for struggling Opposition Leader
The Australian
Judith Sloan
27 July 2018

There are two reasons why federal Labor is proposing to reject the national energy guarantee — pure politics and caving in to the renewable-energy rent-seekers.

There is just no way that Bill Shorten wants to hand Malcolm Turnbull a win by endorsing the NEG. It wouldn’t really matter if the policy was the best under the circumstances or the sort of policy that a Labor government might have devised.

Given the Opposition Leader’s ongoing struggles — his failure to cut through with the public and the ongoing shadow competition with alternate leader Anthony Albanese — endorsing the NEG is a bridge too far at this stage.

It’s a pity, because opposition climate change and energy spokesman Mark Butler would probably have happily accepted the NEG’s architecture in the knowledge that the embedded emissions-reduction targets could always be ramped up.

He is now left with the unenviable task of devising an alternative scheme that will probably be worse than the NEG, with the added political downside of a carbon tax being an unavoidable part of the deal.

There is still a chance that the state and territory governments may endorse the NEG at next month’s COAG meeting. There is an understandable reluctance on their part to stand in the way of a national initiative such as this, particularly as they cop part of the blame for rising electricity prices.

Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has also made some conciliatory moves by providing for a formal review of the emissions reduction targets in 2024.

But then there is the impact on Shorten’s thinking of the renewable-energy rent-seekers and their buddies at GetUp!Having enjoyed the mother of all leg-ups with the renewable energy target, the sector wants more. They simply can’t abide a situation in which they might have to see how they go in a relatively free market, notwithstanding their dubious claim that the cost of renewables is now lower than the cost of fossil fuel-generated electricity, even on a firmed basis.

And let’s face it, they will say anything to try to convince an ingenuous but frustrated public.

The renewable energy sector would still have us believe that coal-fired plants can continue to close, the gap will be filled by wind and solar, and prices will somehow miraculously fall.

But I guess if you are Shorten — and don’t forget his pals in the industry super funds are heavily invested in renewable energy — it’s very convenient to believe this fairy story.

Mind you, it could get ugly when electricity prices continue to rise. Recall that wholesale electricity prices rose by 80 per cent and retail prices by 20 per cent when Hazelwood closed.

So where does this leave the government? Even if the states and territories endorse the NEG, it would be an almost impossible outcome to get sufficient numbers of Senate crossbenchers to support the required legislation.

The alternative is just to let it go and concentrate on the establishment of new user-driven dispatchable plants that may require government guarantees in the out-years. Helping existing coal and gas plants extend their working lives would also be useful.

Otherwise, we might just have to live with what the national electricity market offers up.
The Australian

Anyone interested in what Australia’s wind power market ‘offers up’ on a daily basis need only check out Aneroid Energy for the latest. What’s produced by 1,800 turbines, spread over four states, with a nameplate capacity of just on 5,000 MW, can only be described as ‘chaotic’.

Judith Sloan shouldn’t worry so much about Bill Shorten canning the NEG.

Picking between what’s being promoted by Josh Frydenberg and what the Green/Labor Alliance is itching to give us, is like the choice between being eaten by lions or trampled by elephants.

Josh Frydenberg’s NEG effectively expands the Federal government’s Large-Scale RET and pushes it over the horizon.

The original reliability obligation was watered down (rewritten by renewable energy rent seekers with the aid of the eco-zealots that populate Frydenberg’s Department), effectively neutering the policy.

The carbon dioxide gas ‘emissions obligation’ was also rewritten, such that the only way of satisfying it was by signing up to purchase power from wind and solar outfits. Hence, the NEG being promoted by Frydenberg is simply the RET on steroids.

The last thing Australia needs is another MW of chaotically intermittent wind or solar. Blackouts and load shedding – di rigueur in this country’s wind power capital, South Australia – will start hitting Victoria and New South Wales this coming summer. And voters will not be amused.

Retail power prices, that stubbornly continue to rocket in a northerly direction, come with a political cost, too.

Any policy which is politically unsustainable will eventually face the axe.

For that reason, the NEG will never get off the ground. And, it’s a matter of when, not if, the mandates, targets, penalties and subsidies that sit behind the Federal government’s LRET get the chop, as well.

PM, Malcolm Turnbull and Josh Frydenberg might be content to go with the flow, but there are dozens of Liberal and National backbenchers who know what’s waiting for them at the next election.

Householders and business owners vote and they will not reward a government that had a golden opportunity to put an end to the debacle and then fudged it, because they were too busy chasing votes from the lunatic left, and too busy being manipulated by rent-seekers keen to keep the RE gravy train rolling. Malcolm, Josh, now is the hour.

SA’s RE debacle killed his plastics recycling business and 35 jobs.

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Jackie Rovensky says:

    What this country needs is a Government run by Statesmen with an interest in this Nation not their ideological bent or their wallets. We need people who work for the people and those people are the ones that work for their keep not flash a vacant promise in a Ministers face while ‘rent-seeking’..
    We need people at the sharp point willing to stand up to these ‘rent-seekers’ telling them to go push their empty barrow somewhere else.
    We need to get back to being a first world nation, prosperous with work for anyone who wants it. We need to be able to afford to play instead of just managing to live while failing to pay our bills.
    We want to see a future for our families.
    This is only possible if we take charge of our own needs – we need energy ‘on tap’ at a price we can all afford. We need energy to be accessible to industry and businesses at a price that enables them to also make a profit.
    We need to get out of the Paris agreement, showing we are a Nation not beholden to an agreement that is failing us, that was created as a result of ideological claptrap and never truly assessed for its value to the environment or a Nations viability to be able to support their people. We need to bring online power supply that is there when needed and not reliant on the fickle weather.
    We need Statesmen to lead us back into the light of day and night, to help us rebuild what these past years of foolhardy claims have pulled us down to. We need people in Government who are unafraid of the ‘rent-seekers’, who can look them squarely in the face and tell them the people and Nation comes first and they have no place here.

  2. “Descent into Chaos” might be an understatement. With massive superannuation investment, any significant policy change could cause a huge market collapse: superannuation funds leading to a run on banks, etc. Unlikely? Who knows? At this stage of the game, the politicians are but a few steps from blackout disaster and time is rapidly running out. I’m wondering if the politicians are looking furtively for lifeboats yet.

  3. swan101 says:

    Reblogged this on UPPER SONACHAN WIND FARM.

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