Rent-Seeker Rage: Wind & Solar Lobbies Outraged as Energy Minister Signals Sundown for Subsidies

That’s right Scott, we’ll bury RE rent-seekers right here.

 

Death and taxes are certainties, then there’s the certainty of rent-seeker outrage when subsidies to wind and solar are cut or even threatened.

The wind back in subsidies across Europe has all but destroyed the wind industry: in Germany this year a trifling 60 onshore wind turbines have been erected, so far.

Twelve countries in the European Union (EU) failed to install “a single wind turbine” last year.

And, as a result, the manufacturers of turbines and solar panels are dropping like flies, as subsidies are rolled back across Europe.

Those that have profited obscenely from those subsidies over the last decade or so are practically suicidal.

Until now, rent seekers in Australia have been largely immune.

The Federal government’s Large-Scale RET runs out to 2031 which, combined with its domestic cousin the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme that has paid for millions of solar panels on Australian rooftops, will deliver around $4,000,000,000 in subsidies each year, until then.

But, in a world where too much is barely enough, those profiting from the wind and solar scam had high hopes for a Labor victory last month.  A victory would have given them a Green/Labor Alliance, set on delivering a punitive tax on carbon dioxide emissions (crippling coal-fired power plants) and a 50% RET – practically doubling the existing scam.

But it wasn’t so much the scale of what Bill ‘Shifty’ Shorten was offering, but its duration.

The plan being pitched up involved no end date, meaning that subsidies would not only expand but extend until hell freezes over.

Little wonder that RE rent-seekers and zealots have been just a little down in the dumps after Shorten lost the ‘unloseable’ election.

Worse still, not only was the Liberal/National Coalition returned to power, it did so with a leader, Scott Morrison, who once gleefully produced a lump of coal inside Parliament, provoking fears and jeers from the other side of the House.

Having ditched the wind and solar obsessed, Malcolm Turnbull (who’s son, Alex ‘Born Lucky’ Turnbull heads up the RE rent-seeking crowd down under), the Coalition has the prospect of letting the wind and solar industries die a natural death. Aiding that prospect is the fact that the PM has left Angus Taylor in place as his Energy Minister. His views on RE subsidies are well-known and quite rightly feared amongst wind and solar profiteers.

Instead of watching subsidies for wind and solar expand exponentially, rent-seekers like Alex Turnbull & Co are watching the ground fallout from under them. Hope has turned to despair.

Here’s Alan Moran detailing the reaction to what is, as against what might have been.

Green subsidies have sapped nation’s energy for too long
The Australian
Alan Moran
20 June 2019

This month Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor fleshed out the federal government’s energy policy in ways that brought howls of outrage from the subsidy-seeking renewable energy lobby. Stripping aside the rhetoric, his address had three main themes.

First, the government has subsidies in place for low-emission energy and does not intend to expand these with additional renewable energy subsidies. There will be no expansion of the existing commitments to subsidising large-scale solar and wind facilities — commitments likely to be fully acquitted by 2021 (though the existing subsidies will continue for another decade).

This has followed relentless pressure to expand the subsidies, but it is only a start. Unfortunately, no commitment was made to terminate the subsidies for small-scale rooftop facilities, even though the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission had recommended this course.

Nor was there any commitment to wind back the cripplingly expensive direct subsidies from the budget, including those through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation “green bank”.

Indeed, this week Victorian Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister Lily D’Ambrosio ­triumphantly opened Australia’s “largest integrated battery and solar generator” at Kerang, a facility ­financed by direct government subsidies and soft loans from the CEFC.

The second strand was to reaffirm the government’s recognition that subsidies to high-cost, low-reliability wind and solar energy had undermined Australia’s energy affordability and the economy at large.

Taylor reiterated the need to remedy this by giving investors assurances that government policy would not repeat the mistakes of the past — that new investments would not be prejudiced by subsidies to their competitors or new impositions on fossil fuel generators. Before the election the minister had identified 12 possible new reliable energy ventures. Only one of these was a coal-fired plant, but better alternatives such as the Queensland Collinsville proposal are now emerging.

Third, he confirmed that the government did not intend to add to its Paris commitments by adopting the ALP-Greens proposals of even greater reductions to emissions levels than have been already agreed. Indeed, Taylor foreshadowed using Australia’s vast liquefied natural gas exports (which arguably displace higher emissions from coal) as a means of claiming offsets to domestic emissions should this be necessary

To reinforce reliability, Taylor is intent on requiring electricity retailers to firm up their contracts. But this is unnecessary, as retailers are fully cognisant of wind’s chronic unreliability and understand that a 100 megawatt shortage for five hours could easily cost $5 million, enough to push small retailers towards bankruptcy and to focus the minds even of the AGLs of this world.

His immediate goal is to get the wholesale price back to $70 a megawatt hour from its present $100 (the wholesale price was less than $40 a megawatt hour in 2015, before the renewable subsidies that forced the closure of the Hazelwood and Northern coal-fired power stations). In the next couple of years $70 a megawatt hour should not be difficult — forward prices are tracking towards this.

One way a more sustained $70 electricity price could be achieved is if the aluminium smelters, which consume 15 per cent of electricity, were to close down. Smelters at Kurri Kurri and Port Henry have already gone and the giant Tomago, Boyne Island and Portland smelters are all in respite.

However, the closure of these world-class manufacturing facilities would signal deindustrialisation. Taylor is determined to avoid this but, though generators can be leaned on to accommodate the smelters in the short term, across the longer period an energy price close to $50 a megawatt hour is necessary.

Achieving a future $50 a megawatt hour will prove difficult because of the amount of subsidised wind and solar already in the system. Eradicating this overhang will not be easy.

The renewable programs started two decades ago in what John Howard has since described as his biggest policy mistake. The schemes were ramped up by the Rudd-Gillard governments and Tony Abbott was able to make only minor incisions. Malcolm Turnbull and the ALP, through the national energy guarantee, sought to expand the subsidies further and were cheered on by wind and solar developers despite their effusive claims such measures were no longer necessary.

Last month’s election was billed as “the climate change election” and the government can claim a mandate to repair the electricity supply industry.

Hopefully, restoring it to the global pinnacle it once occupied in terms of low costs and reliability will be accomplished in much less than the 20 years it took to undermine it.
The Australian

HELE coal plants: powering Australia’s future starts here.

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Where the hell is those supercheap wind and solar plants. I mean at no matter what event I am being told in no uncertain terms that those two sources are already now the cheapest and that they are unavoidable in the future. So, what do you need the subsidies for when you are so darn cheap? Live up to your promises or go away.

  2. David Stone says:

    Does anyone know if any obligations are placed on renewable energy companies to remove and appropriately dispose of all parts of each turbine, including the concrete foundations? Some foundations are over 8m deep. The damage to the hydrology of the ground underneath is never considered. Many of these sites are prime agricultural land and damage to aquifers is significant and probably permanent.
    At a time when Australia is growing its population faster than any other western nation we are diminishing our capacity to feed ourselves. The State government calls wind farms “critical infrastructure”. This is absurd. They don’t work. No other form of electricity production would be given the go ahead if it only worked 10-20% of the time. No other form of anything would survive if it were idle 80% of the time – a transport system, water system, health system, education system, a work force, defence force, the list goes on. That this “industry” not only got up and running but is kept afloat by subsidies says as much about the stupidity of our politicians as it does about the people who put them there and the education system that produced a generation of lemmings, very similar to the Eloi in H.G. Wells’ novel The Time Machine.

    • There are generally no obligations to remove turbines or clean up sites. And even when a planning condition exists to remove turbines it does not include the base. In any event,the operator will be a $2 company and no valuable security is obtained to cover clean up costs. So, once the turbines are beyond their economic life, expect to see them abandoned to rust.

      • David Stone says:

        Thank you.
        It should be legislated that someone is responsible – even if it is the farmer who allowed the windmills (I struggle to use their terminology, it grates to call them a farm,
        Farms produce something, a turbine produces constant power, these are neither a farm nor a turbine, they’re a windmill producing next to nothing) on their property. No one would sign up if they were made responsible for the clean up. What I’m looking for is a way to prevent one more windmill being erected and at the same time honor the 2030 obligation. An alternative to the landowner being responsible could be that State governments require an up-front fee of $1m per windmill for removal costs. This would add $40m – $80m or however many windmills are built – retrospective laws should be made, there must be precedence, governments have made other legislation retrospective in the past. Obstacles must be put in their way that are “green” – then the Greens can’t complain. Any Green claiming they want to save the environment couldn’t complain about a law that requires rehabilitation of toxic waste. Same for solar farms and the disposal of panels. Any Green that thinks concreting the planet, or covering it with hot black solar panels that occasionally produce power and are full of heavy metals that never break down is a green solution… is beyond help, completely delusional.

  3. Jackie Rovensky says:

    A good start to slowing the onslaught would be to call a halt to the installation of further turbines – whether approved or not until thorough research has been fully undertaken into the harm to both humans and the environment of these projects has provided results.
    We need to stop more harm being done.
    There are more and more of these things being installed and proposed everyday – the MASSIVE Asian Hub in WA is an example of what we can expect if control is not taken by the Federal Government.
    Approval of these projects is sloppy and the final approval is left to a decision maker with a political prerogative rather than a panel of environmental, health experts along with engineers independent of Governments.
    The EPBC has few legs to stop these projects all they can do is to say there are endangered species so find a way not to harm them, but you can work out the most minimal requirement and we have to accept it. State EPA’s, well we all know what they are like, they do what their salary suppliers want them to do and ignore what they know is needed to safeguard human health to ensure their State Government gets what it wants. MP’s both Federal and State don’t care as long as they don’t make the decision and don’t have to live with the consequences of Turbines as neighbors forgetting they will be living with the environmental destruction before todays school children reach adulthood, as our native creatures and flora are decimated and our rich productive rural landscape is swallowed by acres of turning metal monsters.
    Then they will say ‘we saved the world’ but lost our ability to live happily and safely in it.

  4. Crispin says:

    If Angus Taylor is having any doubts about applying pressure to the big energy companies, then he need only ask himself this. Would Bill Shorten have been holding back had he won the election?

    Would he f… airy cakes!

    Get in there Angus and bang some heads together.

  5. Reblogged this on Climate- Science.

  6. Charles Wardrop says:

    Serves these chancers and frauds right

  7. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

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