Giant Renewable Energy Debacle Demands Even Bigger Lies: Boffins Claim More Wind & Solar Guaranteed to Cut Power Prices

Efforts by RE zealots to maintain control of Australia’s energy policy have turned to high farce. Working on the adage that the bigger the lie, the more often that it’s told, the more people are likely to believe it, the AEMO’s Audrey Zibelman and the Energy Security Board’s Kerry Schott have decided to take reality, and substitute it with their very own.

Both are pushing Josh Frydenberg’s version of the National Energy Guarantee, in furious fashion. The NEG was hijacked by Zibelman and Schott, and turned into the Renewable Energy Target, on steroids.

To sell it, they’ve been making claims so wild and wonderful, STT is left wondering what they’ve been smoking?

Ignoring what’s happened in places like Germany, Denmark and South Australia (where renewable energy obsessions sent power prices through the roof), Zibelman and Schott are trying to sell the NEG by promising that retail power prices will quickly plummet; not just a little, but by very substantial margins.

Which would not only defy gravity, it would defy logic, reason, physics, engineering, economics and good old-fashioned common sense.

The NEG not only expands the current Federal government’s Large-Scale RET (the best guess is that the target for wind and solar under the NEG would exceed 42% of electricity demand, up from 26% under the LRET), it extends it indefinitely.

Whereas, the current ultimate annual LRET of 33,000 GWh is meant to be satisfied by 2020, with no expansion after that.

Of course, the fantastic claims being made by the AEMO and ESB are all based on models, using heroic (but undisclosed) assumptions, which bear no relationship with any of the actual results, laid out for all to see in South Australia, as the most obvious and frightening example.

There are, however, plenty of Liberal and National MPs who aren’t buying anything being pitched up by Australia’s very own dynamic duo.

George Christensen asks Japan for coal-fired power plant in Australia
The Australian
Rachel Baxendale
31 July 2018

Maverick Nationals MP George Christensen has been sent on a mining industry-funded mission to Japan to ask its government to build new coal-fired power stations in Australia.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan has tasked his fellow Queenslander with hand-delivering letters to major Japanese companies and government leaders.

“We’re asking the world leaders in clean coal technology in Japan to consider investing here,” Mr Christensen said in a statement.

The trip comes after The Australian today revealed that Mr Christensen is among five government backbenchers who have criticised the Australian Energy Market Operator for having an “ideological worldview” that favours renewables.

Mr Christensen, Tony Pasin, John Williams, Ken O’Dowd and Craig Kelly have all criticised the key bureaucrat and expressed concerns about AEMO’s direction under the leadership of chief executive Audrey Zibelman, in the latest indication of the obstacles Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg faces in securing support from the Coalition partyroom for his national energy guarantee.

Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio has meanwhile sent a firm message to the Turnbull government this morning, saying she is reluctant to sign up to the NEG at next week’s crucial Energy Council meeting because of opposition to the policy on the Coalition backbench led by figures such as Tony Abbott.

Mr Christensen’s trip is the latest push from the Nationals for coal after the consumer watchdog’s report into the energy market.

The Nationals claim the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report makes the case for the federal government to make an investment in “clean” coal.

Senator Canavan’s letter says world demand for coal is growing, especially in Asia which is supplied by Australia.

“The demand is coming from new coal-fired power plants that require high-quality coal and that’s what we specialise in,” the letter says.

He says Japan is a pioneer of high efficiency, low emission coal technology.

“I would welcome you to examine any opportunities to potentially invest in new technology in Australia to address this shortfall issue,” the minister’s letter says.

The Minerals Council of Australia-linked Coal21 Fund is picking up the tab for Mr Christensen’s trip.

He will deliver letters to the heads of Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation and the director of the coal division of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
The Australian

As American baseball and pop philosopher, Yogi Berra put it: “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future”.

Instead of dabbling in the dangerous world of prognostication, Audrey Zibelman and Kerry Schott would do well to ponder some of the musings of George Santayana such as “Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim” and that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Well connected with fanaticism, but completely unconnected with reality, Audrey and Kerry don’t need to stray that far back into the past to appreciate what adding heavily subsidised and chaotically intermittent wind and solar does to retail power prices.

Indeed, Dr Michael Crawford’s helpful graphic is a here and now kind of thing.

With that image in mind, here’s what’s happening back on Earth.

NEG to boost renewables: Energy Security Board modelling
The Australian
Ben Packham
1 August 2018

Tony Abbott has attacked the final design of Malcolm Turnbull’s signature energy policy, labelling claims it will reduce prices as “wrong” and “completely implausible”.

The former prime minister said an “enormous amount of work” needed to be done on the national energy guarantee, after modelling released today showed the policy would help lift renewable energy production ro 36 per cent of the nation’s total generation capacity within 11 years, up from 17 per cent.

“And it also claims that prices will fall, well frankly pigs might fly,” Mr Abbott told 2GB radio.

“This is just wrong, it is completely implausible, it is utterly incredible.

“The fact is the more renewables we have got the higher prices have got, and why should the last lot of modelling be any more believable than the modelling before that, which has turned out to be uniformly and constantly false.”

Mr Abbott attacked the Energy Security Board — the agency that designed the NEG — for saying there would be no new coal-fired power stations under the government’s plan.

“They say that there will be no new stations built, so in 50 years time it will be 0 per cent reliance on coal but if we don’t rely on coal, what are we going to rely on?” Mr Abbott said.

“The problem is you cannot get renewable power 24/7, you just can’t. We call it renewable energy but we really should call it unreliable energy because it only works when the sun shines and the wind blows, which we know that is maybe on average about 30 per cent of the time.

“So I think the national energy guarantee still needs an enormous amount of work, I think there is a real problem with the partyroom being asked to accept something which is driven by the Labor states and territories because I want us to support Coalition policy not Labor Party policy.”

NEG policy to boost renewables
Malcolm Turnbull’s centrepiece energy policy will help lift renewable energy production to 36 per cent of the nation’s total generation capacity within 11 years, up from a current 17 per cent, according to new Energy Security Board modelling.

Australia’s reliance on coal will fall from the current 75 per cent of generation capacity to a forecast 60 per cent over the same period, with the modelling predicting no new coal-fired power stations but no unscheduled closures.

The modelling is contained in the ESB’s final detailed design of the National Energy Guarantee, presented to the state and territories today ahead of a crucial August 10 meeting that could make or break the Turnbull government’s plan to end the nation’s decade-long energy wars.

In a letter to the nation’s energy ministers attached to the report, ESB chair Kerry Schott said failing to agree to the NEG design would result in higher energy prices for households.

“Stakeholders have been clear with the Energy Security Board that the status quo is simply not acceptable and have demonstrated a commitment to work together to respond to the changes that are underway in the energy market,” Dr Schott said.

“Any delay, or worse a failure to reach agreement, will simply prolong the current investment uncertainty and deny customers more affordable energy.”

In a pitch to wavering Labor states, Dr Schott said the NEG mechanism “can accommodate different levels of emissions ambition over time”, and would complement state and territory emission targets “to create greater confidence for the industry”.

The paper reiterates previously-released numbers, forecasting households will save $550 a year on their power bills each year from 2020-21 to 2029-30, including $150-a-year as a direct result of the NEG.

Underpinning those numbers are a projected 45 per cent fall in the nation’s annual wholesale energy bill, from the current $17 billion to a forecast $9 billion-a-year under the NEG.

The paper says the NEG will support continued investment in the existing fleet of coal-fired power stations by providing incentives for long-term contracts between generators, retailers and customers.

However, it provides little comfort for those in the Coalition party room seeking greater incentives for investment in new coal-fired power stations, with all new generation forecast to be from renewables.

The ESB says Snowy Hydro 2.0 is “projected to put further downward pressure on prices”.
The Australian

These are the same modellers that have predicted retail power price decreases, every time they’ve made forecasts about Australia’s power market.

They haven’t been right once, so why should anyone believe that they will get it right this time? Alan Moran details some of their earlier forecasting fiascoes in our post here: Adding Intermittent Wind & Solar Guarantees Spiralling Power Prices: Just Ask South Australians

That relationship is one that’s set in stone, and there are plenty of Liberal and National MPs who aren’t keen to visit on their home states the disaster that’s played out in the RE capital of the world, South Australia.

Liberals in green power standoff
The Australian
Ben Packham
2 August 2018

Malcolm Turnbull’s centrepiece energy policy faces an eleventh-hour threat from dissatisfied ­Coalition MPs who have attacked new modelling that shows the ­nation’s reliance on renewable energy will more than double by 2030 under the national energy guarantee, as coal-fired plants are powered down.

The backlash threatens the prospect of a deal next week to end the nation’s decade-long ­energy wars, as wavering Labor state governments warn that they are reluctant to sign up to the plan until it is given the green light by the Coalition partyroom.

Backbenchers including Tony Abbott, Craig Kelly and the government’s most marginal seat holder Michelle Landry yesterday questioned the Energy Security Board’s claim that prices would drop, and said big rises in renewable generation would threaten cheap baseload power generators.

The ESB’s final detailed design report said the NEG would help lift renewable energy production to 36 per cent of total generation capacity within 11 years — up from a current 17 per cent — while reliance on coal would fall from 75 per cent of generation capacity to a forecast 60 per cent.

The modelling predicts no new coal-fired power stations will be built under the NEG, and there will not be any unscheduled closures of existing plants.

It forecasts a 45 per cent fall in the nation’s annual wholesale ­energy bill under the NEG, from the current $17 billion-a-year to a forecast $9bn between 2020-21 and 2029-30.

Mr Abbott, who has threatened to cross the floor to vote against the policy, disputed the ESB modelling. Of claims that prices would fall, the former prime minister told 2GB radio: “Well, frankly, pigs might fly. The fact is the more renewables we have got, the higher prices have got. And why should the last lot of modelling be any more believable than the modelling before that, which has turned out to be ­uniformly and constantly false.”

Mr Kelly, chairman of the ­Coalition’s backbench energy committee, said he was sceptical of the modelling, and warned he could also vote against the policy as it was designed.

“My concerns are we are doing something that would make electricity more expensive than it otherwise would be,” he said.

“When I have constituents coming into my office and breaking down in tears in front of me because they can’t pay their electricity bill, it is very hard to go into parliament and vote for something that will make electricity prices higher than they would otherwise be.”

If Labor and the five lower house crossbenchers oppose the NEG, it would require just one Coalition MP to cross the floor to sink the vote.

Ms Landry said she was worried that the displacement of coal by renewables would force up power prices for her constituents.

“Coal is still the cheapest form of power and the most reliable. When wind, solar and water can be made 100 per cent reliable, then I will support them over coal,” the Capricornia MP said.

Liberal senator Eric Abetz said the ESB design report revealed the policy was not technology agnostic, as claimed: “It does not explain why everywhere else in the world new coal power stations are being built wanting to use our coal.”

Nationals senator John Williams said he was concerned about the expensive costs of higher renewable energy usage under the targets. “The cost of power is the killer,” he said.

The paper reiterates previously released numbers that forecast households would save $550 a year on power bills each year from 2020-21 to 2029-30, including $150 a year as a direct result of the NEG. The forecast increase in renewables falls short of modelling released by the Australian Energy Market Operator last month, which predicted solar, wind and hydro power would make up 46 per cent of generation by 2030.

The difference is because of the ESB’s modelling of only committed projects, while the AEMO factored in state renewable energy targets that seek to lift the use of renewables ever higher.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg needs to convince the states at a meeting on Friday next week to support the NEG mechanism, before seeking approval of the ­Coalition partyroom, and ultimately the parliament, for a 26 per cent cut to carbon emissions to be implemented under the scheme.

Mr Frydenberg said the government had begun to bring down power prices, “but if we want further price relief, we must act without delay to implement the National Energy Guarantee”.

Victoria and Queensland ramped up the pressure this week, suggesting they were unwilling to agree to a policy that could subsequently be amended. Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said: “How can we have any confidence in what they’re asking from us if it hasn’t been through his partyroom first?”

ESB chair Kerry Schott urged the states to sign on to the deal, saying failure to agree to the NEG design would result in higher energy prices for households. “Stakeholders have been clear with the ESB that the status quo is simply not acceptable and have demonstrated a commitment to work together to respond to the changes under way in the energy market.”

“Any delay or, worse, a failure to reach agreement will simply prolong the current investment uncertainty and deny customers more affordable energy.”
The Australian

Kerry delivers another ‘off-the-planet’ prediction to the credulous.

 

Fanaticism is no substitute for rational argument. Having made completely incredible claims about power prices falling under the NEG – based on the same fallacious modelling used every time before – Kerry Schott adopts the fanatic’s tactic of last resort: bullying non-believers with the idea that if they don’t act now, the world must surely end.

No, Kerry. Doubling down on a disaster will only make matters much, much worse.

As the week wore on, Kerry Schott and Audrey Zibelman changed tack from stick-wielding bullying, to carrot-dangling charm.

Recognising that no one from the left or right is going to support Josh Frydenberg’s NEG, they started making more silly promises, that they have absolutely no hope of delivering on.

In a sense, though, this pair of zealous bureaucrats have not only guaranteed that the NEG will never get off the ground, they’ve called in an airstrike in their own position.

By making nonsensical claims and wild and wonderful promises that will never be met, they’ve drawn attention to the train wreck that is Australia’s energy policy.

As Australian businesses and households start opening power bills, based on retail rate resets of anywhere between 20 and 28% over the previous financial year (see below), the idea that Australia’s so-called ‘energy experts’ have got Australia’s energy crisis under control will soon evaporate.

The black-and-white (oh my God, can we afford this?) reality of spiralling retail power prices is set out for all to see. No assumptions. No models. Just the harsh and – for the 200,000 families who can’t afford power this winter – cold reality that Australia’s renewable energy experiment has destroyed our once reliable and affordable power supplies, and left us paying the highest power prices in the world.

Which is precisely what renewable energy policy is designed to do.

Welcome to your wind powered future!

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. https://theconversation.com/factcheck-are-australians-paying-twice-as-much-for-electricity-as-americans-69980

    There is an older graph in this article which clearly shows the increase in power bills since 2008, from the time that wind farms kicked in the grid. The high price of electricity, forcing us into turning lights, the tv and heaters off will not be resolved in blaming the ‘gold plating’ of the grid or on poor government policy. Stop the renewables industry from sucking us dry and research and develop a system which actually works.

  2. They are destroying AUS manufacturing as electricity prices are not competitive on world scale, then they import more people than AUS can handle + 10000s of new apartments which require power, gas, water, roads etc to service them and yet AUS behind with all the infrastructure.
    Pensioners are freezing.
    Farmers can’t get water / rain so food prices will go through the roof, and yet Gov is sleepwalking into a disaster.
    Does AUS actually have a Gov?
    I doubt it.
    AUS has a bunch of corrupt stooges waiting for their lifetime SUPER

  3. Let the whole rotten debacle fall into a pile of Sh$t and then have a peoples court convened to charge anyone who has had a hand in this debacle with treason against the people of Australia. Its the only way you cannot put lipstick on a pig and keep telling the community electricity is going to get cheaper when it keeps rising. Time is running out once the coal fired power stations start to close on mass the cat will be out of the bag so to speak.

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