Schemes drain taxpayer energy


Just when I thought politics couldn’t disappoint any further, I see more half-baked proposals to fix our broken electricity system.

The system was broken by the actions of the very same politicians who now claim they can fix it. Such was the hysteria about ‘needing to do something about climate change’, successive governments and their collaborators in the opposition have done incredible damage to our economic prospects.

For decades, Australians benefited from cheap and reliable electricity fuelled by the bountiful supply of coal. This cheap coal and cheap electricity provided us with our greatest economic advantage. That has now been sacrificed at the altar of climate change.

In South Australia, where the Labor party, the Liberal opposition and the Xenophons have all embraced massive renewable energy targets, we have the most expensive electricity anywhere in the world. The subsidies tipped into the renewable energy sector makes it unprofitable for 24-7, 365 day base load power solutions to operate when the sun shines and the wind blows.

You can’t turn a coal fired generator on and off to cater to the whims of wind and sunbeams, leaving gas as the only real alternative. Unfortunately, these same politicians have limited the exploration of gas and other fuels to accommodate more green lunacy - meaning our gas supplies are limited and the price has risen accordingly.

After trashing our energy market and economy, the powers-that-be are now doubling the bet and gambling your future - again.

SA Labor are spending $100 million on diesel generators for a couple of summers and another $50 million on a battery that will basically power the state for a few minutes. Not to be outbid in this energy roulette, the SA Liberal opposition have just announced $100 million on subsidising batteries in homes.

The simple maths is that (depending on the battery itself) it costs more for battery storage power than buying it off the grid. This makes the Weatherill and Marshall energy bids just more political and uneconomic boondoggles, shepherded into public acceptance with the unaccountable snake-oil promise of ‘lower power prices’. If you then add the limited lifespan, disposal issues and the explosive potential of lithium-ion batteries, it becomes a heady mix of political froth and waste – at your expense.

But if you think this foolishness is limited to the State arena you will need to think again. This morning The Australian newspaper speculates that the Federal government is set to announce they will pay you not to use electricity. This is a very special approach….if special means unbelievably dumb!

Now I am not one of them, but some readers really have bought into the man-made climate change myth and the associated falsehoods.

They want to see us meet the carbon dioxide reductions demanded by the Paris agreement and agreed to by the Turnbull government. Amazingly, these same people aren’t all that enthusiastic about the zero emissions solution provided by the nuclear option which suggests emissions reductions aren’t really their end goal. It seems the blind pursuit of ideology is what it is all about.

But here is another option.

Over a twenty year period, Australian taxpayers will be slugged $60 billion to subsidise the unreliable and intermittent renewable energy sector. This method of wasting money has zero prospect of meeting the Paris accord demands. However, if we spent that money building twenty-five 800MwH new-generation HELO coal fired power stations, not only would we meet our emissions reduction targets - we would have baseload, affordable energy to boot.

Even better, if we provided contractual and operational certainty to private enterprise, they would build them without the government borrowing any more money. Surely that is a better way!


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  • commented 2017-10-14 14:11:59 +1030
    Why does S.A. have to be the experimental workshop for the world? The bulls—it in the media reporting on how green energy is cheaper than coal fired power station leaves me flabbergasted

    NEWS WEEKLY 7 October 17

    According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), Australian households today pay almost three times what Americans pay for electricity, despite the two countries being similarly rich in low-cost, high-energy output fossil fuels.3 ore damningly, Australian households pay far more for electricity than do their counterparts in Japan and South Korea, which rely on exports of Australian coal and gas to generate electricity.4Furthermore, some Australian states are facing looming shortages of electricity (brownouts) or cuts to electricity (blackouts) over the coming years, especially during summer. Renewable energy subsidies equate to $214 per megawatt/hour for solar energy and $74 per megawatt/hour for wind, while subsidies for coal were only $0.40 per megawatt/hour.6

    P Donald Trump leads the way on this issue

    regards Trevor Dawes
  • commented 2017-10-13 06:44:34 +1030
    Hi Cory. I like your thinking on this, very much. Except, essential services need to be brought back under government ownership. Don’t privatise ownership. We could find the money to build and own clean coal fired power stations (and pay off the national debt) if only we quit spending the next generation’s inheritance like drunken sailors.

    What has happened to the “lucky” country? Where did it go? I want it back.
  • commented 2017-10-11 17:58:38 +1030
    Hi Cory,
    I am expecting that the policy of the Australian Conservatives on energy will include the removal of the RET and all subsidies to renewables. I hope it will also include a proposal to move towards a nuclear power industry, not for the sake of emissions, but for long term, high efficiency baseload power. The idea of using the $60 billion to build 25 HELE power stations, it would be better to spend $10 billion on 5, which would subequently (after 5 years?) be sold and the proceeds used to build another 5, and so on. This would ensure that we have new power stations built at no net cost to the taxpayer. Indeed, the sale of the assets would likely raise a surplus of funds that could be used to retire government debt. And the planning for new stations could take into account new technological improvements, as well as priorities for placement of the stations close to new mines.

    The fight is on, with Mr Abbott throwing down the gauntlet. Please get alongside him and take on the forces of repression trying to destroy our economic and social prosperity.
  • commented 2017-10-11 16:12:15 +1030
    Hi Cory, I Agree strongly with everything you say:
    EXCEPT that terrorists could occupy a nuclear power station and hold us to ransom by threatening to make it go critical, or just blow it up to release radioactivity and cause a major disaster.

    A Coal power station occupied by terrorists would be a nuisance, rather than a major disaster.

    Coal has the advantage that it adds wonderful clean CO2 to the atmosphere as cheap efficient
    air-born fertiliser that makes trees, grass, grains and veggies grow faster with LESS water.

    CO2 is wonderful stuff. CO2 is an ESSENTIAL part of the life cycle: if we had zero CO2 in the air, all plants would die, and so we would all starve to death.
    More CO2 and the plants are happier producing more food and more Oxygen for us so we can produce the CO2 they need – the ideal sustainable environment!

    Common sense says that limiting CO2 is about as stupid as sacrificing maidens to volcanoes – but that’s the ideology of the Greens and Labor – with the Liberals joining in the destructive bandwagon too – all worshiping mother earth and sacrificing our prosperity to try and stay in power.
  • commented 2017-10-11 14:23:19 +1030
    Hi Cory,
    I get so exasperated when I read anything about the power supply problem – how could it happen in this country with more coal, gas, uranium, wind, sun and land than just about any other country in the world, yet we have this mess….! Not only do we have the resources but we let producers sell so much overseas that there isn’t enough of local consumption. It beggars belief.

    Fully on board to have as many new-generation HELO cola fired power stations as we need (but not one more than China or India!! that should give us plenty of scope!), to -
    a) force down the price the current providers are making in the market,
    b) secure reliability
    c) and then make electricity power so cheap here that it attracts industry back to Australia so we can compete in markets that may have expensive power and cheap labour.

    As a school boy in final year in 1973 I remember arguing with a petrol executive who were lobbying the government to make Australians pay ‘world parity’ pricing for our petrol, and he gave all sorts of arguments why we should do that. Result, increased manufacturing costs against our competitors, coupled with high labour rates, and we have now a severely reduced manufacturing sector. Is the same thing going to happen with our gas and electricity.

    If we can run a power supply line under the Bass Strait to Tasmania, why are we not producing such cheap electricity that we are running power supply cables to our Island neighbours to the north? If we are – great! If we are not – what an opportunity IF we had super cheap electricity.

    But how is it going to happen unless the government creates the conditions to make it so? Because it seems many big power (e.g. AGL) and mining companies (e.g. BHP) have bought the Green ideology.

    All that to say, ‘bring it on’ the Australian Conservatives, to, in the first stage to hold governments accountable and expose their stupidity (e.g. paying people not to run their air-cons) and in a subsequent stage, to hold the balance of power, and then to be the government.

    Thanks for reading this far.

    Craig Segaert