Subsidised Suicide: Unreliable Wind & Solar Guarantee Economic Self-Destruction

Intermittent wind and solar are a guarantee of rocketing power prices and rocketing power prices are a guarantee of economic destruction.

An energy-hungry world will never satisfy its needs by pinning consumers’ hopes on the weather. But that’s the model that our political betters have been pushing over the last 20 years.

How we landed in a situation where random power rationing and mass blackouts are treated as normal; how regular double-digit increases in power prices are to be expected, is all down to virtue signalling politics.

Our good friends, logic and reason were banished from the energy debate, long ago. Engineers don’t get a look in. Instead the field is now covered by the arts/law grads who became political staffers and then MPs, who apparently know everything there is to know about power generation. Just ask them.

But don’t expect a sensible answer, anytime soon.

Alan Moran provides a timely reminder of how easily a band of delusional lunatics managed to take over Australia’s energy asylum.

Politicians have sabotaged the energy market
Spectator Australia
Alan Moran
13 June 2022

After a decade of denial and delay, Australia deserves a better future – one with cheaper power, more jobs, and less emissions,’ said Energy Minister Chris Bowen, in his last media release prior to gaining government.

Mr Bowen advocated replacing coal generators with wind and solar, with their shares of electricity supply to increase from 30 per cent to 82 per cent by 2030. To facilitate this, he proposed spending $80 billion on transmission, thereby quadrupling its present costs.

He also ridiculed a Morrison government that ‘does not believe renewables are the cheapest form of energy, or that the world’s climate emergency is Australia’s jobs opportunity’.

Following the May election – the ALP, along with Greens and Teals – received all their Christmas presents at once with an energy supply shortage where a third of the coal generators were out of action, bringing an eight-fold increase in wholesale prices.

After two weeks in office, the new government is now silent on its ludicrous claim that its replacement of coal with high-cost wind/solar generation will save households $275 a year.

The June 8 meeting of energy ministers endorsed the transmission part of the ALP plan only to see this undermined the very next day with the announcement of delays in a crucial element – the conversion of the Snowy Hydro system into a renewables-supportive pumped hydro facility.

Panicked by the tenfold increase in electricity prices, the energy ministers announced measures to patch up the wounds in the market caused by the very political controls they were amplifying. These included giving regulators powers to trade gas, with no consideration of the effects of this on other suppliers’ actions.

Energy ministers also announced replacing the existing ‘energy only’ market with a UK-style ‘capacity market’. Such a system ostensibly offers more funding to controllable supplies like those from coal, gas, and hydro. But it is less effective and more expensive than having decisions on supply reliability made by retailers who need to balance contracts between many different sources. Western Australia operates with a ‘capacity market’ and it has added costs without improving availability.

The recent bankruptcy of half of the UK’s energy retailers demonstrates that a capacity market does not give greater security.

Fundamental harm has been done to the energy system as a result of politicians meddling in commercial matters. The creation of the National Electricity Market and privatisations two decades ago has brought to Australia the world’s most efficient, lowest-cost electricity supply.

There are two reasons why it has since gone pear-shaped.

First, governments have subsidised wind and solar, making coal and gas generators unprofitable and forcing their closure. Governments made it clear that coal generators, which supply 60-70 per cent of our electricity, have a very limited social license to operate. They inhibited access to new coal supplies, accepted activists’ attacks on coal, and closed their eyes to policies of banks that refused loans and of insurance companies that refused cover.

Secondly, governments have foreclosed exploration and development of abundantly available gas in South Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales. Astonishingly, in face of consequent shortages, the Victorian energy minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, advocated diverting Queensland gas to Victoria. In response to criticism of this policy, Premier Daniel Andrews suggested it was only possible for Victoria to supply gas if we ‘frack up the joint’ which he claims (contrary to all the evidence) will harm our prime agricultural land. The state Liberal Party shares the same policy to the great detriment of the people the politicians supposedly represent.

The industry has been treated as the playground of politicians. They have compounded their own errors in subsidising renewables that undermine the whole system by funding the will-o’-the-wisp (which is hydrogen power) and by appointing activists to bloated regulatory agencies and to their own departments.

Creating the damage is easier than repairing it.

The subsidies to wind and solar will continue to poison efficient supply for many years to come. But as a start, governments must abandon all subsidies, free up regulatory restraints, and disengage from controls over retailers and generators. Efficient electricity supply, like that of groceries, telephony, and cars, requires market – not government – control. As has been demonstrated, the latter brings especially perverse outcomes when it seeks to specify particular technologies.

Rectifying the damage also requires restoring the social licence to build new coal power stations and nuclear power. This involves correcting an environment whereby financiers have joined regulators and activists in preventing new investment.

Government leadership is required to undo this damage, including by upholding laws that prevent trespass, abandoning requirements on firms to conform to concocted environmental pressures, and making all businesses aware that discrimination against energy suppliers is alien to government policy.

This will not be easy.

Ministerial statements demonstrate an ignorance in blaming the cause of the current crisis on gas and coal. Both Labor and Coalition politicians have, for the most part, listened to activists and subsidy-seekers and drunk the kool-ade that wind/solar is not only necessary to save humanity but is also cheaper. It seems the situation will need to deteriorate even further before there is a realistic chance of policy reversals.
Spectator Australia

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Peter Pronczak says:

    Federal Energy Minister Chris Bowen et alia, should explain if steel makers are to revert to using charcoal instead of coal to add to iron to make steel, or is the use of steel to be abandoned altogether?
    Another fun day on the offset money making market. At least for some.
    Whoops, there goes all the high-rises, bridges, hydro & anything else structural. A sign perhaps?

    My Karma has run over your Dogma.

  2. William Gray says:

    Remember Infigen? a big donor to Labor and the Greens- along with other ‘concerned’ entities. Now it’s payback time. How else to explain such wilfull disregard for basic logic and common sense. Ignorance is no excuse for criminal behaviour. If France can build a dozen Nuclear plants in 10 years ( in the 70’s) just imagine how fast the ‘clever’ country can build them now. WOW. Keep up the great work STT William Gray

  3. North Carolina may be about to see the same nonsense, with our leftwing Governor Roy Cooper issuing an executive order on offshore wind. Here is the analysis of that from the John Locke Foundation: https://www.johnlocke.org/research/big-blow-offshore-wind-powers-devastating-costs-and-impacts-on-north-carolina/

  4. Are Russia and China hell-bent on wrecking their energy sectors? Russia has the only operating sodium-cooled reactors, and the only research reactor (BOR-60). China builds one GWe of coal-fired capacity every week, has 17 nuclear power plants under construction, and now produces even more coal than Indonesia.

    Makes you wonder “Whence green?”

  5. Phil. Ex QEGB Engineer says:

    This article is a very well written, no holds barred account of the status quo of the energy market in Australia. There is a media and climate activist obsession with self-imposed guilt for Australia having a high per capita usage of fossil fuels whilst ignoring the massive carbon emissions of China, India and the USA and the minuscule amounts emitted by our country. I have no faith in these problems being solved by Labour, Greens and Teals as they are not informed and conflicted due to climate evangelism.

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