September 8th 2018


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Caution with gender transitioning: children's futures at risk

EDITORIAL Turnbull the architect of his own demise

CANBERRA OBSERVED Coal-Hand ScoMo pulls off an accidental coup

ENERGY Daniel Andrews' sun worship turns delusional

MEDICINE AND POLITICS Sacrificial Virgins: Is Gardasil even necessary?

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Turkey-U.S. dispute further destabilises Middle East

GLOBAL BAILOUT Follow those zeroes! U.S. Federal Reserve doled out $US29 trillion to save the world

POLITICS AND SOCIETY Business next to fall to 'progress'

OPINION The Victorian ALP observed from up close

SPECIAL BOOK REVIEW Assault on Kokoda Track heroes fails evidence test

BOOK LAUNCH Live not by lies. An appraisal of Patrick J. Byrne's new book, Transgender: One Shade of Grey

CINEMA In praise of horror: That most visceral of genres

MUSIC Aretha Franklin: A singer of spiritual intensity

BOOK REVIEW A self-defeating experiment?

BOOK REVIEW The four firms that rule the world

LETTERS

EDITORIAL Power companies in clover after closures

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ENERGY
Daniel Andrews' sun worship turns delusional


by Chris McCormack

News Weekly, September 8, 2018

In the world according to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, the way to fix the problem of renewable energy pushing up electricity prices is for all Victorian taxpayers, especially the poor, to subsidise more renewables.

The Victorian ALP government has announced a $1.24 billion scheme to subsidise households half the cost of new solar panel systems ($2,225 per home). After July 2019 (assuming the ALP is re-elected) home owners would be provided interest free loans over 4 years to pay back the other $2,225. This will do nothing to reduce power prices to those that cannot afford to pay back the loan, or do not qualify.

Renters, the poorest socio-economic group, will gain a zero reduction in electricity costs, as the scheme is only available to home owner-occupiers, excepting those living in not for profit community housing, whose landlords are able to take up the offer. A long-term survey of 17,000 people by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research revealed in 2016 that Victoria’s home ownership was at an historic low, with 66 per cent of households owner-occupied. That remaining 34 per cent renting, will have to weather the storm of increasing power prices.

 Additionally, those on incomes above $180,000 or with homes valued at over $3 million are ineligible for the scheme and won’t see reduced prices unless they pay the full cost of a solar panel system. For those that do install solar panels, subsidised or not, the benefits are questionable. The ALP is claiming households will be up to $890 a year better off if they install solar panels. The benefits of solar systems materialise during daylight hours when most people are at work. Without the additional cost and complexity of battery storage, the absence of sunlight during peak demand (and peak pricing) in the evening, will negate any cost benefits.

Business owners and industry feeling the brunt of skyrocketing electricity prices will also gain nothing from this latest exercise in virtue signalling from the Andrew’s government. The decision to increase coal royalties 300 per cent in January 2017 would have a "negligible in the extreme" impact on power prices, the Andrew’s government said at the time. Three months later, the coal-fired 1,600 megawatt Hazelwood power station, which provided up to 25 per cent of Victoria’s base-load power, closed. Twelve months later wholesale power prices had risen 85 per cent and Victoria had become a net importer of energy for the first time in almost a decade, now relying on other states to supply it reliable electricity. Under Daniel Andrews’ watch, the push for renewables has led to the wholesale power price tripling in Victoria since 2015.

Instead of spending $1.24 billion on green righteousness, the ALP government could build a new high-efficiency, low-emissions 1000 megawatt coal-fired power station for $2.2 billion, according to power and energy sector specialists GHD and Solstice Development Services. In place of feeling all warm and fuzzy, this would actually alleviate the energy shortfall from the closure of Hazelwood.

This exponential rise in power prices has been the result of governments using taxpayers’ money to heavily subsidise renewable energy at the expense of cheap, coal-fired power, with expensive gas-fired power needed to fill demand when weather conditions render renewables powerless. If ever there was a lesson to be learnt from renewables causing power prices to rise, it is the case of South Australia. It has the largest share of renewable energy in any large electricity grid system in the world and which, ALP governments would have us believe, by sheer coincidence happens to have the highest power prices in the world

Or, if we follow Daniel Andrew’s logic, the reason why Victoria and S.A.’s power prices are so high is because we don’t have enough renewables. Tell that to every other country in the world with lower power prices and less renewables than S.A. Even his A.C.T. comrade, then Territory Environment Minister Simon Corbell admitted in 2016 that the A.C.T.’s 100 per cent renewable energy target by 2020 would add $290 to the average electricity bill in 2020.

The Victorian ALP’s target is 40 per cent renewable energy by 2040. They obviously haven’t learnt from S.A.’s recently ejected ALP Premier Jay Weatherill, who was chasing a 75 per cent renewable energy target by 2025, despite the Australian Industry Group estimating the cost of power price spikes in SA in three weeks in July, 2016, to be more than $150 million, prompting some of SA’s largest employers – BHP, Arrium and Adelaide Brighton Cement to voice serious concerns over the cost of doing business in South Australia. Last year a 40-year-old SA family-owned business, Plastic Granulating Services, closed after citing its power bills had risen from $80,000 to $180,000 in 18 months.

AEMO said last week that they were working with the Victorian government “to manage the projected risk in Victoria of the reliability standard not being met” this summer because of the reduction in base load power generation. In other words, asking industry to shut operations down during peak electricity demand. Is this the “third world” energy future Daniel Andrews has in mind?

As long as Daniel Andrew’s renewable energy crusade perpetuates the lie that more renewables equals lower power prices and more reliability, we career down the road of economic destruction while having access to a virtually limitless supply of cheap brown and black coal for low-cost, reliable energy.




























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