Power Brawl: Labor Backbenchers Revolt Over Ludicrous Wind & Solar Energy Targets

Having lost the un-loseable election in May last year, an angry rump of Labor backbenchers is keen to ditch the party’s suicidal renewable energy policies, with a view to recovering the ground they lost trying to win the sandalista vote in the inner city goat’s cheese circle.

Australia’s economic future depends, in no small part, on getting the ALP to decouple itself from the lunatic fringes of the hard-green left, and to start thinking about reliable and affordable power, of the kind that fuels industry, growth and jobs.

Whatever policies are directed at recovering from the coronavirus lockdown, without reliable and affordable power Australia’s energy hungry businesses are doomed. With rocketing power prices, and an intermittent supply, mineral processors and manufacturers are terminal, and have been for years.

Politicians and academic boffins have been giving lip service to improving Australia’s “resilience” and “self-sufficiency”, resulting in the renaissance of Australian manufacturing and industry.

With Australian businesses suffering among world’s highest power prices (thanks to its obsession with intermittent wind and solar, South Australian households and businesses suffer the highest prices in the world), the rebirth of manufacturing and industry sounds like so much wishful thinking.

International supply chains may have ground to a halt and the orderly flow of goods to market disrupted, but, before too long China will regain its primacy as the world’s manufacturing powerhouse. Two factors are responsible for China’s dominance in that domain: a cheap and flexible labour supply; and a reliable and affordable power supply. The latter being generated by hundreds of coal-fired power plants, with more being added every day.

Labor MP, Joel Fitzgibbon is one of those who understands the importance of the relationship outlined above.

Joel occupies the Federal seat of Hunter – a region of NSW dominated by coal mines and coal-fired power plants. Although, he very nearly didn’t; he suffered a near death experience when workers in the mining and power industries turned on him with a vengeance. During the May 2019 election, there was a 9.5% swing away from Joel to the Nationals, a fair slice of which came by way of preferences from a One Nation candidate, Stuart Bonds who picked up 21.6% of the vote. Bonds campaigned on a platform supporting coal-mining and reliable and affordable, coal-fired power – policies a million miles away from those being peddled by the modern, so-called ‘Worker’s Party’.

At a point when the ALP is looking increasingly unelectable – thanks to its waffly leader, Anthony Albanese and an obsession with delivering interminable subsidies to chaotically intermittent wind and solar – Joel Fitzgibbon has started talking sense, much to the annoyance of the lunatic fringe within the party.

Labor luminary lashes party ‘fundamentalists’
The Australian
Geoff Chambers and Greg Brown
27 July 2020

Joel Fitzgibbon has accused Labor’s influential internal environment lobby of putting blue-collar jobs and lower energy prices at risk – and warned them against exaggerating the number of jobs in the renewable energy sector – as the party’s split over climate and energy policy grows.

The opposition resources and agriculture spokesman said the Labor Environment Action Network’s “fundamentalist” policies were out of step with ALP values and making the party unelectable, according to leaked emails obtained by The Australian. LEAN, which invited Mr Fitzgibbon to a Wednesday forum, was founded by Labor’s home affairs spokeswoman Kristina Keneally and opposition cabinet secretary Jenny McAllister to push the party into stronger climate change action.

Mr Fitzgibbon told LEAN that Labor’s focus must be on “immediate job creation”.

“LEAN also needs to be cautious about overstating the number of job opportunities provided by capital-intensive and import-dependent renewable projects in the short to medium run,” he wrote in the Saturday email.

The forum, a town hall event held by LEAN’s Hunter branch, will hear from NSW Labor environment spokeswoman Kate Washington, Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union state secretary Steve Murphy, Grattan Institute energy director Tony Wood and Beyond Zero Emissions researcher Dominique Hes.

Mr Fitzgibbon said, given the impact of COVID-19, Labor should be focused on “building on the strengths of those industries which have performed well during the crisis. They provide the best opportunity to deliver outcomes quickly. Immediate job creation cannot be achieved with a fixation on concepts like “green steel” which are decades away,” he wrote.

The flashpoint in the party’s climate wars comes after Labor MPs. including Alex Gallacher, Glenn Sterle, Anthony Chisholm, Shayne Neumann and Raff Ciccone, backed Mr Fitzgibbon on emissions targets, raised concerns about delayed approvals for the New Acland coal mine extension and supported streamlining environmental approvals through the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act.

Mr Fitzgibbon told LEAN he would not participate in the group’s “Jobs & Steel: the Hunter’s Renewable Future” forum on Wednesday because it had “already made its position” clear on key environmental policy issues.

In the email, Mr Fitzgibbon criticised LEAN over its pre-emptive positions on environmental policies, including the Narrabri gas project and EPBC review.

“I note LEAN has accused others of pre-empting the final EPBC review report, but is guilty of doing exactly that itself,” he said.

“I also note LEAN has passed judgment on the Narrabri gas project before the IPC has completed processes and scientific analysis. This pre-emptive attack on a project which will deliver many blue-collar jobs and lower energy prices for households and industry is contrary to ideals on which Labor was formed.”

Mr Fitzgibbon is backed by Australian Workers’ Union national secretary Dan Walton, who said policy positions advocated by LEAN would be “devastating for the livelihoods of blue collar workers”.

“I think most senior Labor figures consider their advocacy as something to be treated with a fair degree of caution,” Mr Walton, who represents workers across the steel, mining, manufacturing and agriculture sectors, said.

Following the government’s proposed overhaul of the EPBC last week, which would set up a single touch approval system and devolve responsibilities to the states, LEAN warned Labor MPs they would oppose policies that did not reflect the ALP’s pre-election platform. Under the platform, Bill Shorten took a 45 per cent emissions reduction target and 50 per cent renewable energy target to last year’s election.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese, under pressure from Left colleagues to not abandon the ALP’s ambitious climate change policies, earlier this year committed to a net zero emissions target by 2050 but is yet to commit to a medium-term target.

In February, Mr Albanese said Australia should be a “clean energy superpower harnessing the wind and sun to spark a new manufacturing boom”.

Mr Walton said while “green steel” was an exciting proposition, the technology remained “a way off.” “Even its most enthusiastic proponent, Sanjeev Gupta, will tell you the technology is a way off and accessible, affordable natural gas is necessary in the immediate term if we are to maintain an Australian steel industry,’’ he said.
The Australian

Where Joel Fitzgibbon gets it, his boss, Albo hasn’t got a clue.

6 thoughts on “Power Brawl: Labor Backbenchers Revolt Over Ludicrous Wind & Solar Energy Targets

  1. Research on coal to carbon fibre is progressing but the massive
    amounts of energy required to produce it can never be supplied
    by wind and sun.

    Anthony Albanese should get off his backside and take a walk in
    the real world taking his supporters with him.

  2. I’m having trouble believing it but the Fraser Coast Chronicle posted my following response to a post quoting information on the university web site:

    “The Conversation? It’s a joke. As an extension of government when I first came across it I thought it was practice for writing terms of reference for royal commissions.
    What do they have to say about the reality of wind farms compared to limited informed stats by UK Caithness wind forum? Try Janet Holmes a Court, Patron, Fly Fish Australia on https://www.facebook.com/noturbineactiongroup/

    Maybe it’s the internet’s ability ‘to individualise the experience’ and it’s not really broadcast to everyone.
    Call me a cynic, perhaps I need a rest.

  3. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak and commented:
    At a point when the ALP is looking increasingly unelectable – thanks to its waffly leader, Anthony Albanese and an obsession with delivering interminable subsidies to chaotically intermittent wind and solar – Joel Fitzgibbon has started talking sense, much to the annoyance of the lunatic fringe within the party.

  4. I appears Caithness UK has worked hard gathering statistical data than elsewhere, but as they state, “This is because the wind industry “guarantees confidentiality” of incidents reported.” So most of the information is from public rather than government or industry sources.
    This is not possible in the small population and expanse of Australia.

    Just as accountability pressure is being brought to bear on internet information domination, it seems incredible that the players in the wind industry are free to disregard borders as well. Companies such as Siemans Group that build and finance wind farms (among other things), are not known names such as Elon Musk, Warren Buffett or those in the cult of celebrity. It is likely that as elsewhere, the same people are behind differently named newly formed companies. There is also many differences in Occupational Health and Safety and the adoption of Industrial Manslaughter legislation.

    It is also of concern that international private finance, that controls political parties, is not overseen by any regulatory body.
    A simple spreadsheet of members of the UN, UNSCR, NATO and the economic troika, shows how hamstrung the UN is. An adopted motion can only be altered by the proposer. How can this be considered democratic?

    In AU is seems as absurd as each state having different education standards, road rules, with police and emergency services having different colours and uniforms. Why should any of these things be different? Does it also mean different states value residents and workers as having different value?

    Seemingly simple from the Caithness reports is the turbine distance from houses: Finland 2km, Bavaria 2km and Scotland 2km.
    The AU distance is 1.5km, with the Forest Wind ‘proposal’ increased to 3km in anticipation of ‘component liberation’.
    As turbines get bigger the distance of danger increases. So a safe public distance today has no bearing on a planned construction tomorrow. It is a hopeless game of catchup. It would be thought that as turbines have existed since the 1980s, the growth in physical dimensions certainly would have been foreseen.
    Years of computerisation with copy and paste, the public doing work that used to be paid for, have seen many costs drop, but apart from the likes of digitised newspapers, prices in repetitious productions have generally remained static.
    The supposed principle of a level playing field has never been honest, it has always been ‘first in best dressed’ as it is with financial cartels.

    A parallel would be the international motor vehicle industry, where although some countries have lower safety standards, generally there is a fault recall system. So the precedent of standardisation, such as aircraft altitude measured in feet and speed in knots, makes sense that where there is a crossing over international borders, the same standard is practiced. Again using motor vehicles, some AU advertisers state their vehicles are built for AU conditions; generally, a rough road in one country is rough in another. By the same token, what is the difference in the way the wind blows?
    Usually when legislation differs from one place to another, it is to provide loopholes through which the unscrupulous can crawl. Tax havens, family trusts and mortgage interest being tax deductible, are examples. It is an ‘us and them’ situation where the expendable lower classes get screwed.

  5. Seems to be a political shift.
    Quite unusual but got this comment posted on the Fraser Coast Chronicle:

    The following is just as applicable to political action on the pandemic…
    A parable from Stuart Young former chairman UK Caithness wind farms.

    You engage a milkman to deliver 2 pints a day.
    He delivers 2 on Sunday,
    none on Monday,
    1 on Tuesday,
    3 on Wednesday,
    1 on Thursday,
    3 on Friday,
    and 4 on Saturday.
    Job done, you have had your weekly ration of 14 pints. An average of 2 pints a day. You would sack your milkman after week one. You wouldn’t pay him extra for being unreliable, and you wouldn’t pay for the surplus milk on the days there is too much and you wouldn’t pay him more to take the surplus away when you can’t use it either. But that is exactly what we do when we rely on wind generated electricity.

    1. Not a bad scenario with the exception that you would be very unlikely to receive your 14 pints over 7 days. More often than not there will be a shortfall.

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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s