Renewable energy rent-seekers hijacked the proposed National Energy Guarantee in order to ensure their subsidy-soaked futures.
The reliability obligation – which would have guaranteed electricity to all power consumers during any worst-case scenario (eg, the height of summer when air-conditioners are running flat out and breathless weather means wind turbines are flat out producing anything at all) – has been gutted.
Under Josh Frydenberg’s version of the NEG – retailers are only required to lock in power supplies based on long-term averages; and major industrial users will simply be chopped from the grid under what’s euphemistically termed ‘demand resources’ or ‘demand management’. The latter approach of depriving power to business is synonymous with Third World countries and communist dictatorships.
In less than 15 years an energy superpower has been relegated to the ranks of the despotic and impoverished regimes that Australians once derided. Rocketing power prices coupled with large-scale power rationing is now the new ‘normal’.
If Frydenberg was the least bit interested in Australia’s economic fortunes, he would stop talking about demand management and start managing supply.
Either Australia has reliable and affordable power and the industries that depend upon it; or it gets used to the standard of living ‘enjoyed’ by sub-Saharan Africans. On its current trajectory, some of Australia’s biggest employers (miners, mineral processors and heavy industry) will simply pack up stumps and head overseas.
For those reasons, the NEG has little hope of passing through the labyrinth of state governments, and no hope at all of winning the support of the Liberal and National MPs who formed the Monash Forum.
Detailing why the NEG is a dead duck even before it starts waddling, here’s Alan Moran.