May 7th 2016


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Safe Schools: Sorry, chef, but the entire sex-ed menu's off!

CANBERRA OBSERVED Mild unpopularity of Libs preferable to ALP slogans

EDITORIAL Turnbull's stuttering election gambit

ENERGY Media shows no interest in Shorten's renewables plan

LEGISLATION Viability bill at least a baby step for the babies

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Intifada of the Knife: Israel's unknown war

FAMILY AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE Gender symmetry: women can be as abusive as men

ECONOMICS AND POLITICS Overhauling Australia will require more than a tinker

FAMILY AND SOCIETY Media gush over study only to find same-sex parents more irritable

RESEARCH The scientific objectivity of gender difference (Part One of two parts)

CINEMA Mowgli takes on the lore: The Jungle Book

BOOK REVIEW A sliver of hope

BOOK REVIEW A primer on Western civilisation

BOOK REVIEW Of ships and shots

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ENERGY
Media shows no interest in Shorten's renewables plan


by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, May 7, 2016

The centrepiece of Labor’s election manifesto is to increase the production of renewable energy to 50 per cent of total energy production by 2030: that is, in less than 14 years’ time.

Bill Shorten not quizzed

on imponderables.

The enormity of Labor’s proposal can be seen in an examination of Australia’s current renewable energy usage: despite billions of dollars in subsidies for wind farms and solar energy over recent years, renewables (hydro, wind and solar) generated just 13.5 per cent of all electricity in 2014.

The breakdown of this figure is revealing. According to the Clean Energy Council – which has no reason to exaggerate – hydro (6.2 per cent of Australia’s total power generation) still produces the most clean energy of any source, while wind produces 4.2 per cent and solar 2.1 per cent, giving a combined total of 6.3 per cent. (Clean Energy Australia Report 2014)

The hydroelectric power generators are to be found principally in Tasmania where for generations, hydroelectricity has been the mainstay of the state’s power, and from the Snowy Mountains Scheme in southern NSW.

Campaign

Extreme environmentalists, with Dr Bob Brown of the Greens in the lead, prevented the construction of any new hydro dams for many years.

In light of the fact that under Labor no new hydropower is anticipated, a Shorten government is therefore promising to increase solar and wind energy from 6.3 per cent of Australia’s generated electricity in 2014 to over 43 per cent in 2030. Unless we assume that the total demand for electricity remains at 2016 levels – which it won’t, due to a rising population – the proportional growth in wind and solar generation will be even greater.

Even the most one-eyed supporter of alternative energy would regard such a promise as “heroic”, in the words of Sir Humphrey Appleby of Yes, Minister, if not frankly impossible.

Consequently, in public discussion of Labor’s plan the mathematical improbability in Shorten’s promise is never highlighted. Instead, bodies like the Climate Change Council, which supports the Labor plan, argue that “Australia has more than enough renewable energy resources for all our electricity needs”.

There is one state in Australia which under the present and past Labor governments, has embraced alternative energy – South Australia.

According to the Clean Energy Council: “Approximately 40 per cent of South Australia’s power came from renewable energy during 2014, while about 95 per cent of the electricity used by Tasmanians came from renewables [overwhelmingly, hydro power]. The next best was Western Australia (13 per cent).”

To look at South Australia today gives an insight into what will happen if Labor is elected to government, and Bill Shorten becomes prime minister.

As South Australia has shifted to renewable energy, the cost of electricity to consumers has skyrocketed, due to subsidies for alternative energy and the high cost of augmenting it when the sun is not shining or the winds die down.

Four years ago, The Advertiser in Adelaide reported a statement by the Energy Users Association of Australia – representing the largest electricity consumers – saying that South Australia’s power prices were set to become the highest in world. (Advertiser, March 21, 2012)

Some time after these higher prices came into effect, The Australian Financial Review reported, on December 15 last year, that South Australian irrigators were predicting increases in electricity charges of 100 per cent in 2016. It added that South Australian businesses faced electricity futures contract prices of $87 to $90 a megawatt/hour from 2017, more than twice the Victorian futures price and nearly twice that for NSW, “because of the state’s big wind farm and solar industries”.

The causes of South Australia’s soaring power prices were highlighted by Professor Richard Blandy, Professor in Economics at Adelaide University, in an important article published online last January.

Professor Blandy wrote: “It is clear that South Australia has the most expensive and most variable power on the eastern states grid.

“The reason for the high (and extremely variable) price of electricity in South Australia is our very high dependence on solar and wind generation compared with the other states. This results from the rapid expansion of renewable energy generation in South Australia.

“According to a Deloitte Access Economics study recently released by the Energy Supply Association of Australia, South Australia’s solar and wind generation capacity per head of population is already more than three times that of any other state or territory.”

Labor’s policy would take Australia back to where South Australia is today: a state that cannot produce enough electricity for its own needs, and where power is priced beyond the incomes of its working-class population. All to buy green votes!




























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TRANSGENDER: one shade of grey, 353pp, $39.99


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