Australia’s Suicidal RET: Eastern States Soon to Follow South Australia Over its Wind Power Cliff

Australia’s Suicidal RET: Eastern States Soon to Follow South Australia Over its Wind Power Cliff

Maurice Newman was the former head of Deutsche Bank, the ABC and ASX so you’d be forgiven for thinking that he might know a thing or two about economics and business. Maurice doesn’t mince his words about these things: calling wind power “a crime against the people” (see our post here).

Maurice has also previously made the connection between spiralling power costs – being driven by the insanely expensive and utterly pointless Renewable Energy Target – and the death of manufacturing in Australia (see our post here).

Before Malcolm Turnbull’s coup did in Tony Abbott as PM, Maurice acted as chairman of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council.

Here’s Maurice busting the wind industry’s principal myth; viz, that wind power is ‘free’ and getting cheaper all the time.

The ever-receding mirage of cheap renewables just faded from view
The Australian
Maurice Newman
28 March 2017

On June 30, after 12 years of “advancing climate change solutions”, the Climate Institute is closing its doors, a victim of the “I’ll ride with you but won’t pay” industry. You would think that Cate Blanchett, so happy to appear in the institute’s ads, could have taken the hat around her Hollywood A-list mates, such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Bono, Emma Watson and Brad Pitt, to tip in a few hundred thousand a year for the cause.

But alas, the caravan has moved on and the greatest moral challenge of our time is now the Trump White House. For celebrities who fly eyebrow groomers to the Oscars, climate change is kinda yesterday. Still, to humour the faithful and to keep the dream alive, the 10th anniversary of Earth Hour was celebrated last Saturday night. You didn’t notice?

The ABC did not suspend broadcasting. Nor did it bring audiences joyous messages of hope that, with rising CO2, the planet was able to feed more people than ever. That despite global population growth, fewer people now lived below the international poverty line. Perhaps it will run stories of selfless South Australians, whose government financially supported the Climate Institute, stoically accepting unplanned power outages as a noble sacrifice and sure-fire way of reducing CO2 emissions. South Australians can surely take a bow as the nation’s most virtuous citizens.

But for how much longer?

On March 31, the Hazelwood coal-fired power station, which generates 25 per cent of Victoria’s electricity, is scheduled to close, leaving Victorians precariously dependent on unreliable renewable energy and unpredictable surpluses from neighbouring states.

This should be enough to seal the fate of the energy-intensive Portland aluminium smelter, already facing closure from power interruptions and rising power ­prices. Along with Point Henry and Kurri Kurri and, probably the struggling Boyne Island smelter, (also a victim of increasing power costs), Australia’s six smelters are likely to become two, with 14,000 direct jobs lost in the process.

The Climate Institute had a hand in the destruction of these CO2 emitters and consequent job losses. It “helped expand the renewable energy target in 2008, save the Climate Change Authority after the (Abbott) election and, build bipartisan support for Australia to ratify the Paris climate agreement in 2016”.

Not mentioned was Australia’s transformation from one of the world’s cheap-energy economies into one of the most expensive. Household bills have doubled in a decade. Yet the institute claims that “three-quarters (of those it polled) see economic benefits owing (sic) from leadership on climate change and energy policy, including new jobs and investment in clean energy”.

Really? Who did it poll? Evidently South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill was one.

Smiling through the tears and, with an eye on elections next March, he announced a $550 million “dramatic intervention” to include a twice-the-cost-of-coal gas generator and battery store, all powered by long-suffering SA taxpayers. It seems US rent-seeker Elon Musk may provide the battery technology that MIT Technology Review claims “depends on technology that doesn’t yet exist”. An associated grid upgrade is not mentioned.

Unlike Weatherill, the European Commission is waking up to the unhappy macro-economic effects of renewable energy, particularly on manufacturing and job creation. Accordingly, ageing European coal generators are receiving increased taxpayer subsidies, disguised as “capacity payments”. Germany is building 12 new plants. And, according to The Guardian, there is a likelihood that priority dispatch for clean energy will be scrapped from the EU’s 2020 renewable energy directive.

Add to this the likely withdrawal of the US from the Paris climate agreement, China playing to the crowd but with no commitment until 2030, India’s caveat that signing was “in the context” of its development agenda, and you quickly realise that Paris was always a “good faith”, not a legally binding, exercise.

Scientists fret about this. They know in today’s realpolitik the will to tackle climate change is weakening. It’s not only celebrities who see it as “kinda yesterday”.

They also worry that global temperatures have recorded no measurable increase since 1998, despite human emissions increasing by a third. In desperation, some manufacture fresh warming scares to keep pressure on the political class. For example, NASA named 2014 the hottest year ever, but under pressure admitted it was “only 38 per cent sure”.

The National Oceanic and ­Atmospheric Administration deemed 2016 the hottest on record, even though it lacked data for half the world’s land surface. Finally, a whistleblower fessed up that the temperature records were “adjusted” with the Paris climate meeting in mind.

Sadly, deception has been a feature of climate science. We’ve had Climategate 1 and 2, Himalayagate, Amazongate and “homogenised” temperature records where key algorithms are withheld. We’ve had false claims of scientific consensus. It seems this duplicitous culture is deeply embedded.

The political class, attracted by the authoritarian potential of climate change and, with rent-seeker encouragement, has long ignored this evidence.

But lately the world’s largest emitters are finding that the laws of the market are more reliable than climate science and renewable energy. As energy economist Alan Moran cuttingly observes, “the imminent arrival of cheap renewables — three decades of an ever receding mirage”. Now, with economic reality knocking on their domestic doors, governments have little choice but to act local while spinning global. Karel Beckmann, editor of European Energy Review, estimates, worldwide, 1500 coal-fired generating plants are under construction or are in the planning stage. Japan has 45.

In Australia it’s a pipe dream. Rather than embrace cheap coal, better we resort to nostalgic, uncosted, inadequate Snowy Hydro solutions. See South Australia and you glimpse our future. The Climate Institute’s job is largely done.
The Australian

The Australian’s Editor followed up with this pointed lament on the RET driven demise of Victoria’s cheapest and most reliable power plant, Hazelwood – and what its loss means for Australian power consumers.

Victoria follows SA on power
The Australian
Editorial
30 March 2017

After a half-century generating up to 1600 megawatt hours of electricity, the Hazelwood power station in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley has shut down and will close tomorrow. The plant has supplied up to 25 per cent of the state’s needs and its withdrawal has already triggered a spike in future prices in Victoria and — because it exports power through the National Electricity Market — in NSW and South Australia too. Analysts predict consumers will face price hikes of up to 20 per cent in the near term.

The Australian Electricity Market Operator forecasts Victoria, which has set a renewable energy target of 40 per cent by 2025, will remain a net exporter of power and that it can rely on coal-fired power from NSW and hydro-electricity from Tasmania if caught short. If Victoria does face any generation shortfall in the future — Hazelwood’s French owner Engie is also looking to sell the Loy Yang B coal-fired station, which supplies 17 per cent of the state’s power — it will exacerbate the energy crisis in SA.

That state’s Premier, Jay Weatherill, will be relieved increasing energy security concerns and rising prices have enabled the Pelican Point gas-fired power station near Adelaide (also owned by Engie) to strike long-term contracts to purchase gas and sell electricity, allowing for the reactivation of its second 240MW turbine. This is a major boost to reliable baseload power in SA but highlights how the pressures created by a rapidly growing, subsidised renewable energy sector had forced the plant into mothballs in the first place.

Mr Weatherill has been exposed by revelations he rejected Alinta’s offer to keep open its coal-fired power station at Port Augusta for two years with a $25 million subsidy. The Premier said no, allowed the baseload generator to close and, since, has weathered SA’s first statewide blackout plus load-shedding episodes. This month he unveiled a $550m energy plan including a government-owned emergency gas generator.

As Donald Trump promises to reinvest in clean coal technology in the US and business leaders warn about the impact of the energy pricing crisis on our economy, let us hope Victoria isn’t about to follow SA over a renewable energy cliff.
The Australian

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

Comments

  1. As far as I am concerned Maurice Newman is a hero. He is the only significant leader from the corporate world in Australia that I know of that has had the courage to speak out about the greatest pseudo-scientific fraud in human history – namely the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming scare.
    Newman’s fearlessness in standing up for what is right and truthful really shows up the plain cowardice of his business peers – many of whom have been only too happy to jump aboard trendy social-engineering causes to prove how virtuous they are. Newman is somebody I would be happy to have in a trench alongside me in a time of war – but not the other business leaders who have remained silent about the travesty of so-called renewable energy and what it is doing to the country.
    The same goes for most of the members of the parliamentary Liberal Party. They are people who are in government, but have not only failed their middle Australia constituency, as well as betraying Menzies legacy, but they are also failing all Australians by not bringing this disaster of the RET juggernaut to a rapid halt. I know the senate is a problem – but the silence of these unworthy Liberal politicians shows that they are nothing but careerists – people without principle and are moral cowards.
    As for the unions that represent the “workers” at all these plants that are eventually going to be forced to close – their leaders are nothing more that avaricious hypocritical sharks. I spent a good part of my working life involved in union affairs and know only too well how the system works. Over the last few years particularly there has been plenty of evidence of union leaders who have ripped-off their members – some are before the courts now. But most get away with it.
    The typical energy-intensive plant in Australia is seriously overmanned. This has been forced on weak managements by the unions over many decades and this has made these enterprises marginally uneconomic – so they are already teetering on the edge of viability.
    But worst of all, the employees at these plants have extraordinarily generous redundancy provisions built into their workplace agreements. These redundancy provisions provide a huge incentive for long-term union members at these enterprises to actually want the business to shut down. In the end, working on an assembly line for thirty years becomes a soul destroying situation. Consequently, large numbers of the long-term employees would rather pick-up their half million redundancy entitlements and simply go fishing instead. In some ways you can’t blame them, but in the end it will ruin our economy and deskill the country.
    The union heavies in these workplaces (who have control of the union’s policies) are nearly all older men who fit into this “I’d rather be fishing” category. That gives you an insight into the underlying incentives at work here. The end result is that none of the union leaders (who hold the de-facto power) in these workplaces are going to complain to the Labor Party about their plant being forced to shut down due to the RET. That’s why you are not hearing any complaints from the employees in the media.
    Australia is now in a bad place on many fronts – and it is getting worse. Our economy is being deindustrialised and returned to the helpless situation the country was in in 1939. In the end it comes back to a political question. Only the elected members of parliament can start to address these serious issues. That effectively means the Liberal MPs – because they make up the government of the country.
    But as mentioned above, it is becoming increasingly obvious that most of these parliamentarians are just unworthy moral cowards who are failing their country by not attempting to force an end to the “renewables” train wreck – as symbolised by the closure of Hazelwood.

  2. Maureen Campbell says:

    It is a bloody disgrace. If the wind turbines try to go up where I am I will go to England to the EU and see what they can do for me as these companies are violating my human rights.

    2.2ks from my front door no way can they do that they have to be at least 10ks now from people homes.

    People should have say in what is happening on their door step. My human rights are surely being violated.

    These companies are underhanded and the so called government is allowing it even to the point of paying them rets surely this has to stop.

    People have rights these days it’s not 1776 for God’s sake.

    Believe me Europe and the UN will wonder what has hit them, where is people power over here in Aussie, are people so afraid to speak out that these companies can do what the hell they like? No it’s case of not in my back yard. Well shame on you all so called Aussies.

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