Daily Debacle: Intermittent Wind & Solar Guarantee More Summertime Blackouts

An obsession with intermittent wind and solar is the prime cause of Australia’s power pricing and supply calamity. A ludicrous Federal Renewable Energy Target laid the foundation; Green/left Labor State Governments in South Australia and Victoria doubled down, and did the rest.

Wind and solar obsessed South Australians suffer the world’s highest power prices and the ignominy of being the only Australian State to suffer a statewide blackout when wind turbines automatically shut down during gale force winds. Oh, and they also suffered dozens of mass load shedding events around sudden and unpredictable wind power output collapses.

Their neighbours in Victoria are heading in the same direction, with its Premier Daniel Andrews blind to the South Australian experience and keen to repeat it.

Whether he likes it or not, the Federal Energy Minister, Angus Taylor will be lumped with the blame when the lights go out across Victoria and South Australia this coming summer, and they are bound to do so.

South Australia blew up its last reliable coal-fired power plants two years ago, Victoria axed its Hazelwood plant 18 months ago and Daniel Andrews & Co are eager to blow up Victoria’s remaining coal-fired power plants, just like his Labor counterparts did in South Australia.

The grid manager’s response to peak demand days – think a run of breathless 42°C days, when demand spikes and wind power output collapses – is to simply chop power users supply. Euphemistically called ‘demand management’ – in reality a form of Soviet-era rationing that ought to embarrass any Australian politician anywhere near its disastrous energy policy.

On that score, SkyNews’ Chris Kenny tackles Taylor on what happens next time the lights go out in South Australia and Victoria.

States with ‘reckless targets’ for emissions ‘are asking for’ blackouts
Sky News
Chris Kenny and Angus Taylor
23 September 2019

Energy Minister Angus Taylor says states with “reckless targets” to reduce emissions are “asking for trouble” and blackouts.

Speaking to Sky News Mr Taylor said his focus is on initiatives that put downward pressure on power prices that have risen due to “atrocious policies in the past.”

The Energy minister also argues excessive emission reduction and renewable energy targets are “central” to Australia’s high energy prices.

On Monday the minister announced the Clean Energy Guide, which is focused on energy efficiency for farmers.

He said it’s a “big opportunity” to see lower energy prices and emissions through tips for small businesses and farmers.

The new guide offers 51 practical actions Australian farmers can do to reduce on-farm energy use, operating costs and carbon emissions.
Sky News

 

Transcript

Chris Kenny: Well, across now to the energy minister Angus Taylor, who joins us from Canberra, at Parliament House in Canberra. Mr. Taylor, earlier today you’re out and about in the rural areas around Canberra announcing a clean energy policy and fund for farmers. That seems counterintuitive given the current debates going on.

Angus Taylor: Well, no. It’s focused on energy efficiency, Chris, which is a big opportunity to get energy bills down. It happens also to reduce emissions so it’s good on two fronts and this is a focus on helping farmers with initiatives that can reduce their fuel bills, can reduce their energy bills. There’s a whole lot of really practical things that farmers can do. This is some good work that has been done to support that and of course alongside that we’re supporting small business and farmers through a programme which allows them to tap into energy audits and small pieces of equipment that can help with that reduction in bills.

So, look, practical things, whether it’s a solar pump or it’s precision agriculture, there’s a lot of things farmers are doing right now to improve their energy efficiency whether they’re cane growers or dairy growers or more traditional sheep and beef producers. There’s lots that can be done and that’s what we were focusing on.

Chris Kenny: Yeah, there’s a lot going on here both when it comes to climate and drought and when it comes to energy. That’s why I just wanted to pick through it a little bit. Now this is more taxpayers’ money going to fund these energy efficiency measures as you say, aimed at reducing our carbon footprint, aimed at Australia meeting its Paris targets, but I would’ve thought your central message before the election, and in fact we keep hearing both yourself and Scott Morrison talk about this being your aim, and that is for you to deliver cheaper electricity and more reliable electricity. Isn’t that the focus of the government rather than these renewable schemes?

Angus Taylor: That is absolutely a focus of the government, Chris. There’s no doubt about that and that’s why we are underwriting new generation into the marketplace. That’s why we’ve got a very strong focus on making sure our existing coal and gas fired base load generators are going flat out. That’s why we put together a Liddell task force. We put in place the retailer reliability obligation. All of these are initiatives-

Chris Kenny: Just where are we with that new generation though? You’re talking about underwriting it. When will decisions be made? When will the additional generation come into play? Because you must be worried about reliability, especially across Southeast Australia across this summer.

Angus Taylor: Well, there’s two parts to this, Chris. One is new generation, it never comes into place over night. It takes years to build new generators, but if we don’t get started on it, it won’t happen and that’s why we have got started. We’re done to a short list of 12 and we’re working through those. I’ve been out and about in recent weeks actually looking at some of these projects on the ground and we’ll finalise that in due course as quickly as we possibly can. But in the shorter term, of course, the crucial thing is to keep our existing generators going flat out in the marketplace. The retailer reliability obligation is important to that, but so to our other initiatives.

We formed a task force, working closely with the new South Wales government with Liddell to make sure that we keep Liddell in the marketplace for as long as we need it or we have like-for-like replacement of it. This is much more immediate of course, and that immediate response is crucial. There’s no doubt about it. In South Australia, and particularly in Victoria, we’ve seen a government that has encouraged premature closure of Hazelwood, has banned onshore gas exploration and has reckless targets for renewable investment. All of those things in combination are putting the Victorian grid at risk. It’s at serious risk this summer and we’ve been calling that out.

But in the meantime, we will do everything in our power to make sure we’ve got the generation we need in the marketplace where we’ve got collaborative state governments to work with.

Chris Kenny: Well, just firstly on the reliability issue, do you concede, though, if there are problems with brownouts or blackouts over the summer, people are going to lash out at who’s in government now. They’re not going to want to know about what plans are afoot. They’re going to blame you for not fixing that in the here and now, surely.

Angus Taylor: Well, I can tell you that the fundamental problem we’ve got in Victoria is specific to Victoria and we don’t have that same problem to the same degree in other states, with perhaps the exception of South Australia that had a South Australian Labor government guide on similar pathways to what we’re seeing in Victoria.

When you prematurely closed down power stations, when you ban onshore gas exploration and development, and when you set a reckless target to push more dispatchable base load generation out of the marketplace, you’re asking for trouble, Chris. You’re asking for trouble. So we’re being very clear on this. There’s so much we can do as a Commonwealth government. We have a new South Wales government that is working with us collaboratively on Liddell, making sure we solve that problem. We are working very closely with South Australia, with Tasmania. But if you have policies that are as reckless as these you’re asking for it and the Victorian people, if they face blackouts this summer and there’s a very real risk of that occurring, should rightly say, “This is not good enough.”

Chris Kenny: What’s your advice on that? Just how likely are blackouts during extended hot spells in Victoria this summer?

Angus Taylor: Well, it’s a real risk. It’s a real risk. There’s no doubt about that. Just as we’ve seen real risks in South Australia that had very similar policies. The Weatherill government in South Australia had very similar policies. The current government is working hard to address those and making some good progress on that and we’re working very, very closely with them on that, but there are very real risks in Victoria. We saw it January this year, Chris. We saw blackouts in Victoria, so there’s every risk that we’ll see the same again this summer.

Chris Kenny: Now just also on price. Do you sense that there’s a frustration in the community? You were announcing last week that your initiatives on pricing had, at least according to the statistics, delivered the results. Yet we saw a lot of response via talk back radio and the like where people were saying that’s not their experience. People are still complaining about power bills going up, not down.

Angus Taylor: We are seeing on average, there’s no question, power bills coming down on average, but the average doesn’t replicate everyone’s individual experience, of course Chris, and that’s where the frustrations come in for individuals, but look, the truth is that the standing offers have come down. There’s no doubt about that. We’re seeing really good competitive pressure coming from the second tier retailers. We’d like to see more competition coming from the top tier retailers. So the important thing is have a look at the prices from your second tier retailers. We’re seeing the gradual disappearance now, more than gradual, of the sneaky late payment penalties. People were paying penalties of up to 25 or 30% for paying an hour late. Now we’re seeing that disappearing from the marketplace. There is more to do though, Chris, we know that. We absolutely understand that and I got to tell you, I’m working on this every day.

It’s a focus and we will keep working on it. There is more to do. All of these initiatives that I’m talking about – making sure we address the Liddell issue, making sure our existing coal and gas fired generators are going flat out. These are all crucial initiatives to put that downward pressure on prices and bringing forward the legislation we brought into the parliament last week. You don’t get investment in markets, you don’t get competition without a proper competitive market and we haven’t had a market that’s been as competitive as it should be in electricity. So these are all focused in a very clear direction. Over time I’m absolutely sure they will continue to pay off as they’re paying off for a good number of consumers now. We want to make sure it’s true for all consumers.

Chris Kenny: A lot of pressure on you to make sure it pays off in a tangible and visible way for a lot of people before the next elections.

Angus Taylor: Sure. No, absolutely and I understand the importance of my role. I mean, I get when I get around and I talk to farmers and small business people how important this issue is for big industry because they supply so many of our jobs, particularly in regional areas. I fully understand how important this issue is. I’ve got to tell you, Chris, I focus on it every single day. Look, there have been atrocious policies in the past. Reckless targets in particular have been central to putting us in this position and some very anti-competitive conduct, conduct that the ACCC has described as unacceptable and unsustainable and we have to address that and I am addressing it. The government is addressing it and we working particularly with collaborative state governments to do that. That’s a crucial part of the equation and it will continue to be a focus for the government in the coming years.

Chris Kenny: Angus Taylor, you are probably aware that Labor are out there calling for your resignation again or Scott Morrison to sack you over this grasslands issue. You’ve revealed that before you talked to environment minister at the time Josh Frydenberg about the grassland regulation, he was aware that you had a family interest in a particular parcel of land. I suppose the key question is if he was aware, why wasn’t it declared on your register of members’ interests?

Angus Taylor: Well, it was declared in accordance with the rules. I mean, I declared all my interest, both to the prime minister and to the parliament and to the relevant minister in accordance with the rules. Chris, there was no uncertainty about that. The department understood that position. But look, the truth of the matter is that Terri Butler is embarrassing her leader by selling this smear campaign to him and she’s embarrassing herself now. There is nothing new in this. I’ve said all of this in the parliament in the past. The Labor party right now, Chris, they are all smear and no idea. They’re embarrassed by their energy and climate policies they took to the last election. They couldn’t detail those policies, the costs or the impacts of those policies. They continue to run around in circles on what their policies are now.

We have no idea whether they’re in favour of a carbon tax, they appear to be. What their targets should be. Because frankly it has been an abysmal failure for them. We are clear, we are unambiguous. We’re implementing the initiatives from the last election. They don’t like any of this and they’ll continue to turn what should be a discussion about policy into a personal smear campaign because that’s all they’ve got, Chris. That’s all they’ve got.

Chris Kenny:  Angus Taylor, I know you’re busy and you’ve squeezed us in. I appreciate that. One last question, if I may. The World Meteorological Organisation, effectively the UN’s weather organisation, has said that climate change, global warming is now happening at an increasingly rapid rate, that the effects of climate change are accelerating in their latest report ahead of the all the UN discussions this week. Does that match what you’re being advised from Australian authorities? Are we seeing the effects of global warming accelerate in Australia, in the here and now?

Angus Taylor:  Look, Chris, I’ve never doubted that our climate has been changing in recent years. I farm and my family’s farmed for many, many generations and we do think that there is some change in the weather patterns. There’s no doubt about that. Look, the crucial issue here though is what action should be taken and what impact can Australia have? It’s a global problem that requires a globally coordinated solution. We think we’ve got to do our bit, but as part of a globally coordinated solution and that means sensible policies that don’t trash the economy, that do our bit and that’s what we took to the last election. I think the Australian people agreed that that’s … Well, I know the Australian people agreed that that was the right approach. What we’re not going to do is what Labour took to the last election, which is about slashing jobs, slashing wages, slashing the economy without being upfront to the Australian people about those policies. We’re not going to go down that path, Chris.

Chris Kenny:  Angus Taylor, thanks so much for joining us.

Angus Taylor:  Thank you.
Sky News

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Sarcastic Cynic says:

    Angus Taylor is being played by the Canberra public servants and doesn’t know it. He needs to wake up and show a few public servants the door. Lecture farmers on saving energy? Farmers already have developed a deep mistrust of public servants, and he’s more of it. They’ll be asked to trust a Canberra-based public servant to advise them on how to grow crops or livestock while minimizing energy use? And the farmers can’t cut down trees or create anymore dams. And a bulldozer to create a new track will be out of the question. And the market for meat will be declining, so maybe the farmers should get away from livestock. Maybe the same people who brought us the NBN can advise farmers of market demand and technology. Angus Taylor is being sold a dog and he’s tying his political career to a bunch of manipulative public servants who see only a big bucket of budget allocation. Take off the rose colored glasses Angus and go into the public service swinging a big stick.

  2. Change in weather patterns (short term) in recent years does not constitute climate change (long term).

  3. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  4. Son of a goat says:

    In my latest briefing with Yoda Yates I had to lay it on the line with the big fella and suggest to him “that sometimes instead of trying to save the world, we have just got to save ourselves.”

    Yoda is a bit like the mug punter who just doesn’t know when to call it quits. Having been belted in the Federal election in the seat of Kooyong by his adversary in Josh Frydenberg with a primary vote of 8.98% one would think he would have slunk off into the sunset a humiliated man.

    But oh no, Yoda is doubling down taking Frydenberg to the court of disputed returns, claiming that the liberal party put out misleading signs that intended to deceive Chinese voters into voting for the Liberal Party.

    I agreed with Yoda that the signs were misleading and deceptive in nature, however in the poisonous world of political advertising, in my opinion no court was likely to overturn the election result in Kooyong with such a large margin on a mere whim.

    A losing election campaign and a court action can be very costly, financially, personally and emotionally.

    I put my hand on Yoda’s shoulder, looked him in the eye and passed on a piece of advice that a late Irish priest gave me, “Yoda you have two choices in this life, either be a host to God, or a hostage to your ego.”

    Yoda you can accept your lot in life with grace or end up like the Renewable Energy Messiah, Keats and their fellow cult members. Their tortured minds filled with hatred, their days are consumed with spewing out bile.

    Yoda drew breath, paused an then blurted out “but that low down piece of monkey shit, Frydenberg makes my blood boil.”

    I left him gazing into an empty bottle of Penfolds Bin 169 Cabernet Sauvignon 2016……contemplating his future.

  5. Reblogged this on Climate- Science.press.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: