How to Destroy Reliable & Affordable Power Supplies: Just Add Subsidised Wind & Solar

Australians once enjoyed the cheapest and most reliable power in the world; now they suffer the world’s highest prices and they’re lucky to get power, at all.

Throwing billions at weather-dependent wind and sunshine dependent solar has had the inevitable consequence of destroying both the reliability and affordability electricity, in a country blessed with vast coal, gas and uranium resources. It’s almost as if an alien enemy had been working the controls.

However, there’s nothing surreptitious about the design or the perpetrators: Australia’s energy marketing bodies and the lunatics that now head them make no secret of their delusional obsession with chaotically intermittent and interminably subsidised wind and solar.

Alan Moran takes a look at the so-called Energy ‘Security’ Board and its mission to guarantee rocketing prices and, ultimately, a total power grid collapse.

Yes, the energy system is broken – but because of ministers, bureaucrats and regulators rush to renewables
Spectator Australia
Alan Moran
7 January 2021

Kerry Schott, head of the Energy Security Board, the most senior of the dozen or so Australian regulatory bodies, is scolding state ministers for trying to “speed up” what she sees as an inevitable transition to renewable energy.

Schott’s focus on state interventions is a response to the new assertiveness of state government in providing renewable subsidies through power purchasing agreements with renewable suppliers and forcing vast increases in expenditure on transmission and on-grid management.

But for 2018/19, as shown below, state government subsidies to wind and solar were dwarfed by those from the Commonwealth.

Commonwealth regulations — $3087 million
Commonwealth spending — $2418 million
State regulations — $951 million
State spending — $457 million
TOTAL — $6913 million

The subsidies are directed to weather-controlled sources of electricity that account for one fifth of supply in a market that without the subsidy would turnover $10 billion a year. These renewable subsidies, therefore, add 70 per cent to total market costs.

Coal generators, which account for over 60 per cent of supply, receive no subsidies — indeed, coal faces an actual penalty because it is taxed through state royalties.

Schott, by arguing that the “ageing fleet” of coal-fired generators is declining in competitiveness against wind and solar, thereby demonstrating herself to be utterly clueless about the industry and its economics.

As well as a cost to electricity consumers and taxpayers, the subsidies have created the parlous reliability conditions about which Schott is now, belatedly – ironically — warning us.

The Commonwealth’s renewable energy regulations comprise a scheme for grid supplies (wind farms and large scale solar) and one for rooftop supplies. Both currently provide a subsidy of around $40 per MWh, which is the equivalent of the wholesale price that these supplies also receive. Without the subsidies not one windfarm or solar farm would have been constructed; and the subsidies halve household rooftop solar facilities’ costs – without them we would see few of the two million installations presently in place.

The $2.4 billion in Commonwealth direct spending on subsidies is dominated by the loans from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), the costs and commitments of which were $1526 million last year.

Now, the CEFC itself is attracting attention.

Buried away over the Christmas period, The Australian in an article and editorial drew attention to adverse findings on the CEFC by the Commonwealth financial watchdog, the  Auditor-General.

These included the damning conclusion, “The CEFC has not yet met the target benchmark rates of return set by the Investment Mandate and does not have a strategy in place to meet them.”

For its “core” portfolio, (non-core being a fund for speculative technologies) the CEFC’s shortcomings are illustrated below.

However, the Auditor-General’s assessment misses the central issue, which is the wasteful nature of the CEFC’s investments. In its performance, the CEFC makes a profit on the funds it borrows from the government, demonstrating a professional competence. It claims the benchmark is set rather high, a view expressed by consultants Bishop and Officer back in 2015, but CEFC has made money in a strict accountancy sense.

The real detrimental effects of the program are that it is a subsidy to outlays for assets already in receipt of a subsidy and that it amplifies the deleterious effects of this by sucking in other capital for these malinvestments.

CEFC provides loans to subsidised green ventures at rates that, by definition, the recipients regard as preferential to those available from commercial entities. This is a further waste of taxpayers’ money.

But this cost is compounded by the additional funds that the CEFC claims to have brought into the ventures it finances, funds that are estimated to be 2.33 times as great as the CEFC’s own investment.

The Auditor-General, rather than expressing disquiet about this waste, was critical that the CEFC did not do rather better and drawing attention to overseas funds that did so.

Yet the plethora of subsidies to renewables has led to Australia’s cannibalisation of investable income, thereby vastly outperforming other countries in its “clean energy” expenditure, as illustrated in the chart below.

The dozen or so agencies that comprise Australia’s regulatory community have redirected national capital into investments that have boosted the cost of electricity, reduced its reliability and brought about a bureaucratic and political level of control that undermines efficiency.

This political and bureaucratic control has driven us into a cul-de-sac in which the world’s lowest cost most efficient electricity supply system has been destroyed. There is not an easy way out.
Spectator Australia

8 thoughts on “How to Destroy Reliable & Affordable Power Supplies: Just Add Subsidised Wind & Solar

  1. Ah Australia Day! It’s here again. And yet the usual suspects are screaming GET OFF MY LAND!!! With phrases like, “Always was always will be” …mine not yours! From where I am standing however, Australia may be heading for a future scenario of “Always was always will be”… CHINESE!

    Get your act together Australia. Find some common ground and move on. Honestly, the ABC and SBS are behaving like a petulant child who has had the luxury of too much time on their hands, so as to become absorbed with issues to a microscopic degree. Hence the term micro aggression. Think of the bigger picture. When the bombs start dropping, do you seriously think an invading army are going to care if a loo is transgender or not? It’s a dunny! The only thing anyone is going to care about is who finished off the last toilet roll! Grow up Australia.

    Happy Australia Day STT.

    1. China did not ask all the democracy’s private companies to move jobs there.
      When Kevin Rudd was PM he gave $20 or so million to the Hunter Valley Bonds factory for new machinery, which they bought, shipped to China and shut the factory.
      Rudd said he would get the money back, it was a grant, so couldn’t.
      Taxpayer money at work.
      The Bradshaw region of the Kimberley Ranges prove three distinct epochs of settlement well before 60,000 years ago based on wasp mud nests on top of the paintings. They did very fine art and ‘pit’ mark decorations on rock. The pit marks are recorded on Malta, elaborately. These people came via Sumatra as there were paintings of deer. Later first nation’s destroyed some paintings, put hand prints over the top of others and admitted they didn’t know who they were. Amateur archeologist the late Grahme L Walsh studied the area for many years. Referred to as the ‘tasselated Bradshaws’ there is some info online but establishment archeologists don’t like Walsh’s discovery and study and have belittled him and not bothered to do any proper dating. Walsh formerly ran the Takarakka Rock Art Centre in QLD. Guess who’s making money from Walsh’s work?

      There is no “common ground” with “From the beginning of time”. Try stoning a wombat to death while using everything modern inventions provide, and see what happens.
      It’s more of the same divide and conquer on a national scale (like drugs) with added compensation, segregated jobs and land in a one-way direction that requires entry permits. We are not ‘one’ but all 18yo can vote. The question is who chooses for what?

      ABC RN has been dubbing and editing interviews for years with presenters claiming programs as their own original work. Voice recognition software is amazing; Europe started monitoring all mobile calls in the late 1980s, but it didn’t stop terrorist bases in ‘Londonistan”.
      Who exactly is going to be dropping these bombs? China? Russia? North Korea? Japan or AU as NATO lapdogs?; Malcolm Fraser when he came to his senses and wrote Dangerous Allies. NATO has fired more depleted uranium bullets than anyone else.
      The first 1991 Gulf War saw the use of compressed methane bombs ignited destroying all life in a 300M diameter (1/4 kiloton nuke equivalent) and tank bulldozers bury the ‘enemy’ alive in their trenches; said not to be against the ‘Rules of War’.

      Watch the The Coming War On China film, a doco by John Pilger for some perspective.

      Only two countries stand in the way of a single fascist world financial system. Guess which ones? And who are the resource hegemons of third world countries?
      Read the introduction to the Constitution to see who rules, and understand UK convicts were political prisoners, with the first three shiploads thrown overboard.
      That is Australia Day! Who won, when all living are good or bad custodians?
      Words from a ‘displaced’ person who had no say in it.

      1. Peter Pronczak . “Who will be dropping those bombs?” Well North
        Korea for starters! That was until Trump intervened. And now China are I suspect using ‘salami tactics’, to quote the BBC’s Yes Prime Minister. In other words, piece by piece. Wind farm by wind farm!


        “BEIJING: China has passed a law that for the first time explicitly allows its coast guard to fire on foreign vessels, a move that could make the contested waters around China even more choppy.”

        Australia has to come together because it will only benefit any future foe if we don’t. Maybe a single flag that could include all elements, including the Southern cross and the Union Jack, might be a way forward. The Union Jack is a composition of the English, Welsh, and Scottish flags. ‘Union’ or unity is the message we want to convey to the rest of the world. Otherwise, we all fall down!

        As for the ABC and SBS. They do some great work. And we don’t have to pay a bloody TV licence, like they do in the UK. But there is a wild bunch held up in the ABC’s Ultimo ‘compound’ that have become toxic, in my opinion. Someone needs to bring in some diversity of views. But it won’t be easy. Look at the Waco siege.

  2. Its also worth noting that our lowest power prices existing when our states owned the assets. After the start of the NEM, consumers were stuck with a market that was not designed for investment and loaded us up with costs of loans to companies that bought the assets. The NEM is also a significant cause of our power price increases.

  3. The way to hide something and in this case energy production and cost failure is to create a system which is as complicated as possible and nothing could be more complicated than our energy production and distribution process.
    The so called ‘renewable’ energy industry, its investors, puppet officials and hangers-on have proven this time and time again – yet no Government has had the backbone to unravel it and bring it to account for ALL its failings.
    The warnings are out there, if a State can be shutdown because of a failing of a few turbines and nothing is done to rectify the inadequacies of the WHOLE system and in the process creating one which, as in the past, was able to control output and in most cases circumvent damaged areas, to ensure energy availability to others then the day the Nation goes ‘black’ will be a day of reckoning.
    Unfortunately it may also be to late to draw us back from total economic and social collapse.
    The unreliability of the ‘renewable’ industry is being hidden by a complex well organised system which ensures deception to hide its failings and mismanagement.

    1. “The unreliability of the ‘renewable’ industry is being hidden by a complex well organised system which ensures deception to hide its failings and mismanagement.”

      Could it be that SA originally not being populated by convicts, has bred some of the biggest liars, thieves and crimes in the country, including RE, its bloody big useless battery, and zealots blaming a statewide blackout on an incompetent collapse on two transmission pylons?

      Golly gosh, I guess those responsible are hiding in plain sight. All that’s required is SAs people complain they can’t see because those responsible are keeping them in the dark.

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