One morning recently, 10 October I think, local ABC radio host Steve Austin called up Queensland energy minister Mark Bailey to ask him about an announcement the Queensland government had made. Something about, on a voluntary basis, turning down your aircon so it runs at 26C and being paid for the power saved.
Bailey obviously had a story to tell, but wasn’t given a chance to tell it. Austin is not a boofhead, but he sometimes does a good imitation of one. In this case Bailey was bullied and harassed, “Just answer my question!”, which was whether the purpose of the scheme was to save people money, or to keep the lights on, I think there was a third option which I’ve forgotten. In any case the answer “All of the above” was not permitted, and we never found out what the scheme was about.
With Bailey dispatched, Austin gave LNP spokesman Scott Emerson the opportunity of a free rant, presumably in the name of ‘balance’ with no right of reply for Bailey. Later in the morning Austin told us he had trouble getting people to come on the show! What a surprise! Continue reading Queensland powers up for a warm summer
On Monday and Tuesday this week we are going to have the AFR national Energy Summit in Sydney with everyone there, including Josh, Jay, Bill, Andrew Vesey and a different Malcolm Roberts (Chief Executive, APPEA). Should be fun.
The Weekend AFR had about half a dozen articles, led off by an article by Ben Potter, Angela Macdonald-Smith and Mark Ludlow (no doubt pay-walled) which said our energy has become dirty, expensive and annoyingly unreliable. They reckon something has to be done, it’s just that:
the causes identified by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – or unofficial backbench energy spokesman Tony Abbott – are not the same as the causes power industry experts and regulators highlight. Continue reading Climate clippings 117
Four and a half years ago, at the national conference of the AWU in 2013, general secretary Paul Howes issued a warning:
Continue reading Gas to burn, but at what cost?
According to the AFR, AGL Energy faces “a huge daily challenge” just to keep its “geriatric” Liddell coal-fired power station running and will need to spend up to $150 million just to “keep our noses above water” until 2022. It will cost $900 million to keep it open for another 10 years, as Malcolm Turnbull and Josh Frydenberg would have it.
“It’s exceptionally challenging,” AGL Macquarie general manager Kate Coates told the group of press representatives and other interested persons on the tour on Tuesday. Continue reading AGL struggles daily to keep Liddell going, and looks to ‘flexible’ power
Former PM Tony Abbott said it would be “unconscionable” to adopt a clean energy target and he would cross the floor rather than vote for it, adding that his government had been elected “to abolish the carbon tax and end Labor’s climate change obsessions to go further down the renewables path.” He said there was “no chance” the party room would support a “significant increase in the amount of renewables in our system” and called for Hazelwood 2.0.
On the same day, the AFR’s front-page headline was New threat to power supply, the problem being that coal-fired power stations in NSW are struggling to find enough coal. Continue reading Coal now in short supply!
Last week AEMO, the Australian Energy Market Operator produced two reports on future of electricity markets. The Coalition government under Turnbull cherry picked the reports in a way that was almost infantile, going completely feral, politicising the energy policy, making clear that bipartisanship will be avoided at all costs.
On Saturday at the Country Liberals annual conference in Darwin, he said this:
“I mean, Blackout Bill, fair dinkum, as my old dad would have said, he is so hopeless he could not find his backside with both hands.”
The electricity issue has been folded into his “kill Bill” strategy. Continue reading Turnbull goes feral on electricity
You guessed it, he chose the clapped out Liddell coal-fired power plant.
AEMO, the Australian Energy Market Operator, said New South Wales may be short of power when Liddell closes, as scheduled, in 2022, based on known plans and government policy positions, federal and state. AEMO had just published two documents – Electricity Statement of Opportunities for the National Electricity Market and Advice to Commonwealth Government on Dispatchable Capability. Apart from the risk of blackouts this coming summer in SA and Victoria, the next pressure point could be in 2022 in NSW with the closure of Liddell.
As David Blowers of the Grattan Institute said, the second report carried a clear message, though not stated directly – the system is broken a bipartisan clean energy policy is badly needed. Continue reading Turnbull’s choice – a clapped out coal burner or a clean energy plan
While Malcolm Turnbull equivocates on a Clean Energy Target, he has called the electricity retailers to Canberra once again to jawbone them about electricity prices. Yet the industry keeps telling him the single factor most needed to bring electricity prices down is more investment in renewable energy, which would be facilitated by a Clean Energy Target (CET).
Whether the CET is central or not, it is what the industry believes. But Turnbull will not move until he has a report from AEMO on what the future need for ‘baseload’ power will be, which in the minds of hardcore recalcitrants within his own party, means coal-fired power, throbbing away.
Giles Parkinson says Turnbull does not need baseload, he just needs balls. Continue reading AEMO sees electricity markets reshaped
It’s the kind of article we expect in RenewEconomy, but this one by Angela Macdonald Smith is in the Australian Financial Review – Future for gas to be cut short by batteries and renewables:
Continue reading Renewables make gas out of date, but coal not done yet
The Climate Council issued a report on the future of gas-fired electricity just after Easter – Pollution and Price: The Cost of Investing in Gas.
Gas is often thought of as a ‘transition fuel’ from coal to renewables. Their advice is clear:
Do not provide policy support for new gas power plants or gas supply infrastructure.
Existing gas plants should be thought of as a short-term, expensive, emergency backup as renewable energy and storage is rapidly scaled up.
Moreover, we should leave most of our gas reserves in the ground. Continue reading Gas has got to go
Malcolm Turnbull and Josh Frydenberg have now added a second myth to the earlier one that South Australia had rushed madly and blindly into renewables without thought for the consequences. They say that South Australia is now “going it alone”. Unfortunately this meme was picked up in the media, so that Philip Clark on ABC Nightlife recently had SA “going it alone” as his topic of the day (most of the comment supported SA, but no-one, not a single one, had their facts right).
The fact is that the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) runs the market, calls bids for supply on a 30-minute basis, and balances supply and consumption. That is what it has done every day for years, since 1 July 2009, and will continue to do so into the future. Except that 30-minute time-slots are bound to be reviewed in the Finkel report and may end up at five. The Australian Energy Market Commission is currently considering a request for such a change. Continue reading SA power plan: intervention, not going alone