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!